Vietnamese Catholic Priest Risks Being Returned to Prison

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Vietnamese human rights activist and Catholic priest Father Nguyen Van Ly is at risk of being returned to prison in mid-March despite his fragile health. He suffered from a stroke in prison in November 2009 which left him partially paralyzed, after being held in solitary confinement. He did not receive adequate medical treatment.

Father Ly, now aged 64, was granted a 12 month “temporary suspension” of his eight year prison sentence on 15 March 2010 so that he could receive medical treatment after also being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Since his release, he has been living under surveillance at a house for retired priests in the diocese of the Archbishop of Hue, in central Viet Nam.

Whilst in prison, Father Ly was held mainly in solitary confinement, and suffered from several periods of ill-health over a seven month period before having a stroke. He received neither a proper diagnosis nor adequate medical care. The authorities sent him to Prison Hospital 198 in mid-November 2009, but returned him to prison on 11 December while he was still partially paralyzed.

Father Ly was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in 2007 for spreading "propaganda" against the state. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, arrested and convicted for the peaceful dissemination of his views on democracy and human rights.