International human rights and pro-democracy groups have appealed to Vietnam to release a Christian lawyer and his colleague, as pressure on the Communist-ruled government increases before its national congress.
Nguyen Van Dai, a Christian lawyer based in Hanoi, was arrested outside his home on December 16th 2015, as he attempted to join a meeting with European Union diplomats who had completed an annual human rights dialogue with the Vietnamese government.
Dai’s colleague, Le Thu Ha, was arrested in her office in the capital on the same day.
Both were accused of conducting propaganda against the state, which can carry a prison term of up to 20 years.
The statement calling for their release was signed on January 6th by 26 human rights groups based in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the United States and Europe.
It said that Dai had suffered repeated persecution for his work, including a four-year jail term followed by four years of house arrest imposed in 2007. He was still recovering from injuries sustained in a vicious assault by masked assailants on December 6th.
Fellow activists believe the attack and his subsequent arrest was triggered by his work teaching students about the fundamentals of a free society and the rule of law.
In their statement, the activists groups called on the international community “to act and put pressure on the Vietnamese government regarding these cases, which have a severe chilling effect on freedom of expression in Vietnam.”
A democracy observer in Ho Chi Minh City said the arrests of the two human rights activists occurring a month before the Communist Party congress, scheduled for January 20-28 in Hanoi, are security measures the government takes to silence dissidents and human rights activists.
Dai said in November that he accepts sufferings and persecution in order to provide human rights and democracy values for people, especially young people, so that they can change society.
- Pray for Nguyen Van Dai and his colleague, that they will be released from prison without charge and be able to continue their work for democracy in Vietnam.
- Pray for Christians in Vietnam, many of whom face persecution, imprisonment and oppression because of their faith. Pray for comfort for them and their families.
- Pray for the Vietnamese government to change to allow freedom of worship for believers, and also freedom of speech for Vietnamese people, without fear of reprisal.
- Pray for the spread of the Gospel through Vietnam, that many will come to hear of Jesus, His life, love, freedom and hope.
Colossians 4 vs 3: “At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison,”
Source: http://www.ucanews.com/news, http://www.persecution.org/2016