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More Details on Thai Ha Trial

ICC Note:

More details on a story posted yesterday regarding the Thai Ha Catholics trial.


12/08/08 Vietnam (AsiaNews) Thousands of Catholics gathered at the Hanoi Redemptorist monastery at 5.00 a.m. local time on Monday, to attend a special Mass praying for their eight brothers and sisters who would be tried in a couple of hours for what the Vietnamese government described as “damaging state property and disorderly conduct in public.” In reality, the eight Catholics only participated in the prayer vigils organized by the parish of Thai Ha, to obtain the restitution of church property illegally confiscated by the city government.

Protesters reached the courthouse at 7 o’clock, where they were confronted by hundreds of policemen, armed with stun guns and trained dogs, who were trying to block access to the courthouse from a far distance. The Redemptorists and their faithful argued peacefully with the police that the trial was public and they had a right to go in. However, some police started attacking them with stun guns.

Despite the fact that the prosecutors failed to prove the eight parishioners guilty, at the end, the court gave various guilty verdicts of suspended jail term from 12 to 15 months for seven of them. One of them received a warning.

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