Günter Nooke, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (18 March):
“I note that the Vietnamese authorities have granted Father Ly a temporary, one-year release from detention. This is a step in the right direction that must now be followed by his unconditional release. Given his serious state of health, I sincerely wish Father Ly a full recovery.
At the same time I appeal to the authorities in Viet Nam to meet their international obligations and release all political prisoners of conscience.”
The Roman Catholic Father Nguyen Van Ly was sentenced to eight years in prison for anti-government activities. He is one of the most prominent Vietnamese political prisoners internationally. In 2009 he suffered two strokes. The German Government has made several high-level appeals for his release in recent months.