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Catholic students to stand trial

Four stand accused of spreading anti-government propaganda reporter, Asia Desk

May 21, 2012

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Four Catholic college students charged with anti-government activities are expected to go on trial this week. Anthony Chu Manh Son, Peter Tran Huu Duc, Anthony Dau Van Duong and John Baptist Hoang Phong are due in court in Vinh City on May 24, for spreading anti-government propaganda, local sources said. The sources said they are being detained in Nghi Kim prison in Nghe An province. Son, Duc and Duong, all 23, were arrested last August, while Phong, 24, has been held since December. Church sources said they were all active in Church-run activities. They collected aborted fetuses and buried them in cemeteries, made blood donations and did other charity work. Chu Van Nghiem, Son’s father, was quoted as saying his son was picked off the street and that one month later he was told his son had been disseminating anti-government propaganda. “My son has never been involved in anti-government work. All he has done is donate blood and help abandoned children,” he said. However, the student’s defense lawyer Le Dang Tung, has reportedly said the students have admitted to having given out leaflets demanding a multiparty system, criticizing Communist Party policies and rejecting the results of national assembly’s election held last year. Church sources said the relatives are looking for another lawyer to replace Tung. Meanwhile, yesterday evening, around 3,000 Catholics attended a candlelit vigil at the Redemptorist-run Thai Ha in Hanoi. Father Joseph Nguyen Van Phuong, the parish priest, urged them to pray for justice and truth and for a fair trial for the students. Related reports Church launches justice commission Bishop pleads for halt to Vietnamese trial

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