By Claudia Vandermade, Southeast Asia Cogroup Chair.
Father Nguyen Van Ly, a 64-year-old Catholic priest in central Viet Nam, has spent some 17 years in prison – amid harsh conditions and often in solitary confinement – for calling on Vietnamese authorities to respect freedom of expression and other human rights. Now he’s back behind bars.
On July 25, the ailing Father Ly was returned to prison by ambulance. Authorities claim that he distributed documents critical of government policies and incited demonstrations. Father Ly is one of dozens of activists serving long jail terms for their peaceful criticism of the Vietnamese authorities.