|Linh Mục Nguyễn văn Lý|
Penalty : 15 year prison sentence, past imprisonment
Born August 31, 1947 in Quang Tri province in central Vietnam. Father Nguyen Van Ly was ordained in 1974 and served as secretary to the late Archbishop Nguyen Kim Dien.
In September 1977, Father Ly was arrested for distributing two essays by Archbishop Nguyen Kim Dien critical of the government's religious repression. He was given a 20 year sentence and sent to a labor camp near Hue. Several months later, authorities released Father Ly, but prohibited him from engaging in religious activities.
Father Ly continued religious teaching and in January 1983 was ordered into internal exile by authorities. He sent a letter in reply which exposed the government's religious repression and pledged to stay at his parish where followers gathered around his residence in support. On the morning of May 18, 1983, security forces forcibly removed Father Ly from his home. He was subsequently sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 4 years probation. Released in July 1992, Father Ly was placed under police surveillance and again banned from conducting religious activities.
On November 24, 1994, he issued a "10-point Statement on the State of the Catholic Church in Hue Diocese" detailing the government's violations of religious freedom. Authorities exiled him to Thuy Bieu village (near Hue) with only a small Catholic community.
Father Ly re-released his 10-point Statement in November 2000 followed by an appeal titled "We Need True Religious Freedom in Vietnam." In these documents, he described the communist government's long-standing policy on religions in general and the Catholic Church in particular as a "noose around the neck of the religions."
On December 4, 2000, in protest of the government's seizure of church property and restrictions on their activities, Father Ly and parishioners Nguyet Bieu planted a large banner with the words "We need Freedom of Religion" on the church's land and started to sow seed. Public Security cadres arrived immediately and engaged in acts of intimidation.
In early 2001, authorities increased the harassment and isolation of Father Nguyen Van Ly. His telephone line was intermittently cut-off. Father Ly, however, continued to speak out. In February, he provided written testimony for a hearing by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. He also submitted written remarks for a briefing by the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus on May 16.
On May 17, 2001, over 600 security police stormed An Truyen Parish to arrest Father Nguyen Van Ly. In a two-hour trial on October 19, 2001, authorities sentenced Father Ly to 15 years in prison and 5 years of house arrest.
Linh Mục Nguyễn văn Lý trước phiên toà ngày 30 tháng 3 năm 2007
Father Ly's poem
Bảng Billboard Linh Mục Lý dựng lên khắp nơi trên thế giới
N.16th St. in Phoenix
Indian School Rd in Phoenix
Billboard hình Cha Lý bị bịt miệng được dựng lên tại Brisbane, Úc Châu ngày 30/07/2007
Gold Coast, Australia
Hình Cha Lý bi bịt miệng được dựng lên tại Gold Coast - trung tâm du lịch Úc Châu
Hai Vu leads chants Monday in Little Saigon in front of a billboard showing a Vietnamese guard putting his hands over the mouth of Father Nguyen Van Ly when he tried to speak.
North California, USA