CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 May 2019

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Catholic lawyer gets
wide support

HANOI (AsiaNews): Upwards of 3,000 people joined candlelight vigils organised on February 16 by the Redemptorist priests in Hanoi and Saigon to pray for the health of Le Quoc Quan and other rights advocates, dissidents, journalists and bloggers languishing in prison for their battle in defence of human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam.

The vigils were held prior to the scheduled February 18 hearing of an appeal for Quoc, who is a Catholic.

He was convicted on charges of tax fraud and has been on a hunger strike since February 2 in protest against the refusal of the prison authority to provide him with legal and religious texts, including the bible.

His family and lawyers warned the state of his health is worrying.

Church sources report that he is extremely weak from lack of food and the cold and wet climate in Hanoi.

In addition, the prison authorities have repeatedly prevented him from meeting his lawyers ahead of his appearance before the Court of Appeal.

His case, along with that of hundreds of others, has galvanised popular discontent towards the Communist leadership and the regime in Vietnam, as reflected in the mixed group that attended the candlelight vigil for his release.

 

The Vietnamese government has been pursuing a harsh campaign against dissidents, bloggers, religious leaders (including Buddhists), Catholic rights advocates and entire communities.

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