Senator Boxer on the Release of Father Ly
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I wanted to share with you the welcomed news that the Government of Vietnam has released Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly from prison, where he had been held after a deeply flawed arrest, trial and conviction. However, while this is an important step, I remain gravely concerned about the continued plight of countless other human rights activists and their defenders who are still unjustly imprisoned in Vietnam.
Father Ly was arrested on February 18, 2007, at his parish in Hue, Vietnam. Six weeks later, Father Ly was sentenced to eight years in prison and five years of house arrest for peacefully practicing his faith, expressing his political opinions and associating with others who shared those opinions.
Last year, I worked for the release of Father Ly by spearheading two letters in the Senate -- to Vietnamese President Triet and the Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States, Le Cong Phung -- urging his immediate release.
It is long past time for Vietnam to abide by its own constitution and international law and immediately release all those detained for their peaceful advocacy of religious and political freedoms.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer