Hanoi Police Detain Catholic Priest, Suspecting Him of Organizing Uprising

 

By Vu Quoc Ngu, Defend the Defenders

 August 06, 2016

 

On August 4, security forces in Hanoi detained Catholic Priest Dang Huu Nam from Phu Yen parish, Vinh diocese as they suspected him of organizing uprising against local authorities, according to local social networks.

Priest Nam, who often speaks out to criticize Vietnamís authorities, said he was detained by security officers in plain clothes when he took a lunch in Cau Giay district. He went to Hanoi for medical check.

During the detention, police officers interrogated him, accusing him of receiving financial support from the U.S.-based pro-democracy Viet Tan (Vietnam Reform Party) for organizing anti-government demonstration.

After finding no evidence for their accusation, police were forced to release him at 5 PM of the same day. However, the security forces in the capital city have still been following him closely in next days.

The Nghe An province-based outspoken priest has been under constant harassment of local authorities. In late 2015, he was attacked by dozens of plainclothes agents in witness of Hanoi police.

Vietnam has around seven millions of Christian followers who have been under discrimination of the local authorities who try to closely monitor all religions.

Meanwhile, Catholic priests in Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces have called on local followers and residents to attend the Environmental Day [August 7] to clean the local areas and rally on streets to demand the government to take urgent actions to recover the maritime environment after the illegal discharge of huge volumes of toxic industrial waste by the Formosa Hung Nghiep steel plant of the Taiwanese Formosa Plastic Group in Ha Tinh.

Local activists have reported that Vietnamís government is deploying numerous police officers and army units to Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces to deal with peaceful demonstrations of local residents.

Ha Tinh provinces, together with Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, is the locality suffered most by the environmental disaster caused by Formosa illegal toxic chemical dumping. Hundreds of tons of fish massively died in April-June, making hundreds of thousands of local fishermen and tourism-related businesses have no incomes while the governmentís supports for them are modest.

Vietnamís authorities have violently been suppressing activists who have peacefully voiced to demand Formosa to clean environment in the affected areas before leaving the country, and request the government to bring those officials responsible for granting the license for the Taiwanese company as well as for failing to monitor its toxic waste dumping. Hundreds of them have been detained and many of them were tortured in policeís custody.

 

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