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Prominent pastors to be released in Vietnam

By February 4, 2005

Vietnam (VOM/MNN) — Voice of the Martyrs, Canada reports that the government of Vietnam announced that 8,325 prisoners would be released before “Tet,” the Lunar New Year holiday beginning February 9. Among them are two outspoken advocates for religious freedom in Vietnam, Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, 58, and physician Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, 63.

Ly had angered the Vietnamese authorities in 2001 when he submitted a written testimony to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. In this testimony, Ly urged the US to not ratify a trade agreement until Vietnam’s communist government improved its human rights record. Later that year, Ly was sentenced to fifteen years in prison (reduced in 2003 to ten years) as a result of his actions.

Que is a former Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has been in and out of prison
for nearly 20 years. His latest arrest came as a result of his 2003 Internet posting of articles critical of the government’s repression of the media.

While the release of these prisoners is a reason to thank God, continue to
pray for the many other Vietnamese Christians in prison for the faith. Pray that believers will be able to stand firm in their faith. Pray too that their testimony will encourage many to follow Christ.

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