On Feb. 19, 2007, Father Nguyen Van Ly was arrested in Hue, Vietnam for distributing material “harmful to the state.” In March, he was sentenced to eight years in prison. He has issued statements criticizing the government’s confiscation of church property, lack of seminary training and the influence of the state in church teachings and has been a powerful advocate for Christian freedom.
On March 15, 2010, Father Nguyen was released on medical parole after he suffered three debilitating strokes. He spent 16 months convalescing before the government demanded he return to complete his sentence.
Seriously ill and weak, Father Nguyen was rearrested on July 25, 2011.
Nguyen Van Ly Released Ahead of Obama Visit – 2016
The Vietnamese government released Father Nguyen Van Ly last Friday ahead of a visit by the U.S. president on May 23. The 70-year-old’s latest stint in prison began in 2007 when he was convicted of propaganda against the state and sentenced to eight years in prison. In 2010, he spent 16 months at home due to ill health, but he was recalled to prison in 2011. Church authorities reported that Father Nguyen’s health was seriously deteriorated and that he was thin and could not stand straight. However, they also said he was doing well mentally and spiritually.
Pastor Threatens Hunger Strike – 2011
Father Nguyen, now 64, has warned that he will go on a hunger strike and refuse medical treatment if he is readmitted to jail on March 15, 2011. He was released March 15, 2010 to undergo a year’s medical treatment after suffering two serious strokes that left him partially paralyzed.
Nguyen Van Ly has previously served a total of 15 years in jail, including years in solitary confinement. While on medical leave, authorities have prevented the pastor from giving interviews or meeting activists. CSW reported a US diplomat who attempted to visit was roughed up by police.