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Ruling Against Eight Thai Ha Catholics to be Appealed

ICC Note:

Eight Vietnamese Catholics sentenced by a lower court in the case of the Thai Ha parish will have their appeal heard. The group was charged with “disorderly conduct” and “damaging state property,” but not allowed to present any evidence in their own defense.

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1/13/09 Vietnam (AsiaNews) Hanoi’s Court of Appeal will hear the case involving eight Catholics sentenced by a lower court in the Thai Ha parish church case (prayer vigil pictured), in Hanoi.

The defendants are appealing what they consider an unfair ruling by the Ba Dinh’s People’s Court for “disorderly conduct” and “damaging state property” because they were not allowed to present any evidence in their own defence.

Another factor that contributed to their decision to appeal is the false reports about the case presented by state media during and after the trial.

Defendants and witnesses reported that the former pleaded not guilty before the court. But state media, especially the New Hanoi News and Vietnam Television 1, deliberately reported that the “all defendants had admitted their guilt, acknowledging that they had done wrongful things in violation of the law.”

Two complaints were filed against state media for this kind of malpractice to show the world how immoral and unreliable they actually are.

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