Vietnam: jailed priest suffers second stroke

Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly

Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly

Officials in Hue archdiocese have expressed concern about the condition of Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, who  has been moved from prison to hospital after suffering a second stroke.

The diocese has petitioned Thua Thien-Hue provincial security officials to allow them to  visit Father Ly. "We hope to meet him next week," said a priest from Hue Archbishop's House.

The priest, who requested anonymity, said Church officials first heard about Father Ly's condition from his nephew, Nguyen Cong Hoang, after he visited his uncle in a special ward at a Hanoi hospital on  16 November.

Hoang told the Church officials that Father Ly suffered the stroke on  14 November while praying in his room at the Ba Sao camp in Ha Nam province in northern Vietnam. Father Ly has been serving his sentence there since 2007.

"He's now able to eat chao (rice porridge), read newspapers, watch television and walk around his room, which is under guard," Hoang said.

He said Nguyen Thi Hieu, Father Ly's sister, was planning to visit the priest in hospital. Prison officials informed her of the stroke the day after it happened, Hoang added.

This is the second stroke Father Ly has suffered this year. Two priests from the archdiocese visited him in September after he suffered his first stroke.

On that occasion, the two priests also met prison and security officials at the camp and asked them to allow the jailed priest to get medical treatment in hospital.

Father Ly was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in December 1983 for allegedly undermining national unity and causing public disorder. In 2001, he was sentenced to 15 years' jail for allegedly disseminating anti-government propaganda.

He was released from prison in February 2005 but remained under house arrest in the Hue archbishop's residence. He was arrested again on Feb. 18, 2007, and sentenced to eight years in March of that year for anti-government activities after he allegedly helped organize a pro-democracy party.

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