Cablegate: Further Reduction in Father Ly's Sentence

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. HANOI 1699 B. 03 HANOI 1821 C. 01 HANOI 2789

1. (U) The Foreign Ministry on July 17 confirmed media
reports that the Nam Ha Provincial Court had further reduced
by five years the sentence of Father Thadaeus Nguyen Van Ly
in tribute to his satisfactory compliance with the
regulations of the Nam Ha prison. Father Ly had originally
been sentenced on October 19, 2001 to a thirteen year
sentence for "undermining national unity" and an additional
two year sentence for violating provisions of an earlier
administrative detention order (ref c). The Nam Ha court
had first reduced his sentences by five years on July 16,
2003 (ref b) in recognition of "good behavior." The MFA
source also confirmed that Father Ly would remain subject to
a five-year administrative detention order following his
release, now scheduled for 2006.

2. (SBU) The Government Committee on Religious Affairs
declined to confirm to Embassy the sentence reduction or
provide a comment. However, one staffer privately admitted
having recently participated in an inter-agency session to
discuss the possibility of the sentence reduction.

3. (SBU) Comment: Our Foreign Ministry contact implied
clearly that this decision, like that to release prisoner of
concern Le Chi Quang two years ahead of his original
sentence (ref a), had been intended to create a good
atmosphere for DRL A/S Craner's planned June 18 visit to
Hanoi, now postponed until later in the year. Our contact
indicated, however, that there would be no additional bits
of good news, noting "aren't these two decisions enough?"

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