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Priest banned from travelling abroad

HANOI (UCAN): Redemptorist Father John Nguyen Ngoc Nam Phong, who is known for his human rights advocacy campaigns for social justice, has been barred from leaving Vietnam for national security reasons.
 
A Church person said that the priest from Thai Ha parish in Hanoi was stopped at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport as he was checking in on a flight to Australia for study laave on June 27.
 
In a post on Facebook, Vietnamese officials said the 47-year-old Father Nguyen was prevented from travelling “for the protection of national security, social order and safety.”
 
The Church person said the ban was probably an act of punishment because of his human rights activities.
 
A Catholic blogger, John Baptist Nguyen Huu Vinh, said on Facebook that Father Nguyen is well known for fighting for justice, truth and helping people who fall foul of the Communist government.
 
“He struggles for religious freedom among people in northwest provinces and gives them opportunities to escape poverty,” he said.
 
The blogger, explained that Father Nguyen works with victims of land-grabbing, prisoners of conscience and victims of environmental pollution.
 
In May, state officials and media accused Father Nguyen of defaming the achievements of the Communist Party and undermining national solidarity. 

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