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Vietnam court frees two defendants

Six Catholics in Da Nang diocese were charged with fighting the government

Vietnam court frees two defendants reporter, Da Nang

January 27, 2011

Da Nang city court in Vietnam have released two of the six Catholic defendants from Con Dau parish that the Cam Le district court found guilty of causing social disturbances and fighting the local government over land disputes.

“They are freed because they re-educated themselves well and repented of their violations,” state media reported after the hearing yesterday.

The People’s Court of Da Nang freed Nguyen Huu Minh and Nguyen Thi Nhan, while upholding the People’s Court of Cam Le district’s suspended sentence of nine to 12 months for the other four defendants issued on Oct. 27.

The released Minh, 48, and Nhan, 46, were sentenced to 12 and nine months respectively.

“We are innocent,” said one of the defendants who asked not to be named.

Lawyer Huynh Van Dong, who supported the defendants in court, reportedly said the judge violated the law and forced them to accept the charges.

The six sentenced Catholics submitted appeals to the People’s Court of Da Nang on Nov. 1. They were among hundreds of people from Con Dau parish who were prevented from burying a woman at their cemetery by security officials last May.

The local government wanted to use the cemetery as part of a state-planned eco resort.

Related reports
Catholics jailed over Vietnam land dispute
Bishop pleads for halt to Vietnamese trial

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