Original Publication Date: May 24, 2016
May 24, 2016
** Media Advisory**
VIETNAMESE DISSIDENT RELEASED FROM PRISON
Victims group releases statement on Father Nguyen Van Ly
WASHINGTON D.C. – The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation issued the following statement today on the release of Vietnamese dissident Father Nguyen Van Ly. Executive Director Marion Smith said the following:
“Along with his family and religious community, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation greets the early release of Vietnamese dissident with great relief. We were proud to recognize Father Ly’s heroic activism in the cause of human rights and religious liberty when in 2013 we awarded him in absentia the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.
“Having spent more than twenty years of his life in prison and fifteen under house arrest, Father Ly was nearing the end of his current eight-year sentence at the time of his release. That this grim total has now been cut by several months is reason for celebration. But amidst our relief at this turn of events, we must recognize that Father Ly’s story, and the stories of other detained activists like him, exemplify the arbitrary and despotic nature of the communist regime in Vietnam.
“Even during President Obama’s visit to Vietnam, six more peaceful activist were arrested, and dozens more prevented from leaving their homes. It was right for President Obama to acknowledge this directly in his remarks to Vietnam’s communist leaders. The communist party lacks democratic legitimacy and commits serious and enduring violations of its people’s human rights and dignity. These are facts that American leaders must keep before them as they continue to engage with the Vietnamese regime.
“The Communist Party enforces a suffocating control over the pre-selection process for candidates in order to retain the monopoly over political power in Vietnam that has held since 1975. If we are to move forward in our relations with Vietnam in a spirit of moral clarity, the nature of its government and the manner in which it treats its citizens should not be incidental concerns, but integral to our policy.”
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is a Washington-based, non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. Recently VOC has announced its efforts to launch an international museum on communism in Washington in 2017.
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