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Vietnam priest to go on hunger strike

Jailed stroke victim says he will refuse food in protest at sentence

Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly
  • ucanews.com reporter, Bangkok
  • Vietnam
  • February 10, 2011
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A jailed priest in Vietnam, who has been undergoing medical treatment at a Church-run home, says he will go on hunger strike to protest his sentence when he is returned to his prison camp in mid-March.

“The communist government plans to take me back to the camp on March 15,” Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, said in a testament dated February 2.

“I will go on indefinite hunger strike and refuse medical treatment to oppose the sentence,” he declared.

The priest gave copies of the testament to visitors who went to see him ahead of the Tet festival or Lunar New Year.

He has been at a home for retired priests in the compound of the Hue Archbishop’s residence since his release from Ba Sao Camp in northern Ha Nam province due to health problems on March 15, 2010.

Father Ly, 64, said the government is forcing him to serve out the rest of his sentence.

The priest was sentenced to eight years in prison and five years house arrest in March 2007 for alleged anti-government activities.

Father Ly denies the charges.

“The sentence is unfair and against international law,” he said in his testament.

He said his partially paralyzed right leg and arm, which were caused by three strokes in 2009, were 60 percent better.

In his 10-page testament, Father Ly said he wants to donate his organs to those that need them and his body to a medical school in Hue.

Father Ly, who was ordained in 1974, has been imprisoned five times for a total of 17 years and placed under house arrest eight times for a total of 15 years.



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Priests visit jailed confrere



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