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Church group protests detentions

Hanoi (UCAN): The Committee for Justice and Peace of Vinh diocese, Vietnam, accused security officials on January 11 of  breaking domestic and international laws in detaining nearly 20 Christian activists following a series of arrests last year.

In a posting on its website it said, “As many as 17 Catholics and Protestants have been arrested illegally.” The committee said most of those detained are from Vinh diocese while others were arrested in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and in Nghe An province; all during the last four months of 2011.

“Public opinion will be against a government that arrests its citizens in such an arbitrary way,” the eight-member committee said in the posting, noting, “These actions are against international laws and the country’s constitutional laws.”

Some local Church sources said those detained street are young people, including college students, who were accosted on the street by plainclothes officers and violently bundled into cars without any reason or explanation.

They said the latest case took place on Christmas Eve when Nguyen Dinh Cuong, a young person from Vinh diocese, was forced into a car and his brother was attacked while trying to help him.

Sources said some were arrested for joining thousands of protestors demonstrating against China’s maritime ambitions outside the Chinese embassy in Hanoi and in front of the consulate in Ho Chi Minh City.

Others allegedly worked with people from the Redemptorist-run Thai Ha parish in Hanoi concerning an ongoing dispute with the government over Church property.

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