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(Christian Post) – The appeal of the secretary general of the Mennonite Church in Vietnam before the People’s Supreme Court of Vietnam will be heard today – nearly half-a-year after he was handed a three-year sentence with five others from his congregation, according to reports by Christian persecution watchdog groups. Last November, the Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang and five other members of Vietnam’s Mennonite Church were convicted of “obstructing people from carrying out official duties.” Since then, three of the six have been released from prison in recent months, while three more remain.

According to a report released last year by Calif.-based Compass Direct, the appeal of the sentencing, which was filed also on behalf of fellow Mennonite pastor Pham Ngoc Thach, was cancelled without explanation just a day before it was to have originally taken place on Feb. 2. Compass reports that those close to the situation said that the charges and trial against the “Mennonite Six” were an artifice to take out of circulation Rev. Quang, an outspoken leader of the Vietnam Mennonite Church. Quang, who also served as an active member of the Vietnamese Evangelical Fellowship, had actively campaigned against religious freedom and human rights abuses.