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Thousands sign for release of jailed Catholics


HANOI (AsiaNews): Family and friends of Catholics sentenced to prison in Vietnam for subversion in January have launched a public awareness campaign, which includes a petition signed by Christian and Buddhist religious leaders.

Organisers say the goal is to spread awareness of the case among the civilian population and win, first of all, the interest and the commitment of the Vietnamese people.

The initiative was publicised by the younger brother of one of the imprisoned. He told Radio Free Asia that the indictment is unjust, based on trumped-up charges which open the prison doors to innocent people.

The public awareness movement kicked off on January 27, with a petition entitled, Protest against an illegal trial, which was held in Vinh on 8 and 9 January 2013.

By mid-February, over 10,000 signatures had been collected, among them two bishops and a leader from the Buddhist Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, an organisation not recognised by the government and often subjected to persecution and abuse. The Venerable Thich Khong Tanh said that he wanted to join the campaign to defend justice and democracy in the country.


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