Church in Vietnam

Vietnamese police officially announce investigation of Catholic priest

.- Vietnamese police have moved a high-profile priest to house arrest after accusing him with disseminating propaganda intended to undermine the communist government.

Authorities have moved Fr. Nguyen Van Ly from his home in the central city of Hue, where he was under virtual house arrest, and taken him to a smaller parish outside the city, where he remains under house arrest, reported the Associated Press.

Authorities say Fr. Ly, a member of the Vietnam Progression Party, was plotting with overseas democracy activists to start a new political party called Lac Hong. Vietnam's communist party does not tolerate challenges to its single-party rule.

Police have not formally charged Fr. Ly and are continuing to investigate.

Fr. Ly’s history with the Vietnamese government is tense. He gave written testimony in 2001 to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urging the U.S. not to ratify a bilateral trade agreement until the communist government improved its human rights record.

Fr. Ly has spent more than a decade in prison for his activism and is one of the best-known members of Vietnam's small dissident community. He was last imprisoned in 2001, when he was sentenced to 15 years, but was released two years ago in a prison amnesty.

Vietnam and the Vatican are currently discussing the possibility of establishing diplomatic ties. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited the Pope last month. 


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