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Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom

Fr. Thadeus Nguyễn Văn Lý

Father Thadeus Nguyễn Văn Lý is a Vietnamese Catholic priest and dissident who was imprisoned for more than 15 years for his involvement in pro-democracy movements. He has worked tirelessly as a human rights activist since the 1970s, advocating for free press and religious freedom, and helped to form the Vietnamese democracy movement known as Bloc 8406. He was also heavily involved in the creation of two underground pro-democracy publications and is a founding member of the opposition Vietnamese Progression Party. During his 2007 trial for charges of disseminating anti-government propaganda, in a move that was condemned worldwide, a security officer used physical means to silence Father Lý who was attempting to interrupt the proceedings by shouting anti-communist phrases. Amnesty International named Father Lý a Prisoner of Conscience, arrested for peacefully expressing and spreading his beliefs. In addition to receiving the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom in 2013, Father Lý also received Homo Homini Award for human rights activism and the Vietnam Human Rights Award in 2002, as well as the Hellmann/Hammett writers award in 2004 and 2008.