Hanoi Catholics hold vigil for imprisoned lawyer
Supporters say charges of tax fraud are false and demanded his immediate release
- JB An Dang, Hanoi
- October 1, 2013
Last night, thousands of Catholics in Hanoi attended a candlelight vigil of support and solidarity for the Catholic lawyer Le Quoc Quan, in jail for months on suspicion of "tax fraud".
On October 2, the activist will appear in the court for the first day of his trial, originally slated for July and suddenly canceled by the court. He had been preparing for court for weeks with fasting and prayer, but a last minute "indisposition" of the judge led to a delay in the hearing.
The parish of Thai Ha was packed with the faithful, with signs and posters calling on the Vietnamese government for the "immediate release" of the lawyer who has been in jail since last December.
Most of the participants in the event are young university and college students in Hanoi, who have decided to challenge the ban imposed by the school authorities and still participate in the peaceful protest.
Similar initiatives – torchlight processions and prayers – were held yesterday evening also in Ho Chi Minh City and Vinh , the scene of a violent attack against the bishop and the faithful by local authorities and the state media, which is also the hometown of the Catholic lawyer.
Le Quoc Quan is also a member of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Vietnamese bishops' conference.