U.S. Congress Calls for Release of Imprisoned Catholic Priest in Vietnam

May 12, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News


On May 12, 2004 Yahoo! News posted an Associated Press article that reported, "The House on Wednesday urged Vietnam to immediately release a Roman Catholic priest who was detained three years ago after writing a report describing the lack of religious freedom in that country. The nonbinding resolution, passed 424-1, also said failure to free Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly could have repercussions for bilateral relations. Vietnam, it said, should 'consider the implications of its actions' in the context of the agreement under which Vietnam is currently eligible for normal trade relations. 'Because this brave Catholic priest told the truth,' said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., sponsor of the resolution, 'the government of Vietnam persecuted and cruelly mistreated him and he is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.' The priest was arrested in February 2001 after submitting testimony critical of Vietnam to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for 'damaging the government's unity policy' and other charges, although pleas from the United States and other countries led to that sentence being reduced by five years."