September 10, 2015
My name is Le Van Son and I am a blogger and former prisoner of conscience. I was unjustly sentenced to four years in prison by the Vietnamese Communist Party, together with 14 other Catholic youth. We assert that we have acted in accordance with our beliefs of peace, freedom, democracy and compassion for the people of Vietnam.
Personally, I would like to send my sincere gratitude to all friends, organisations, political parties, governments that have taken an interest in the 2011 case of 14 Catholic youth. We thank you from the bottom of our heart.
I would like to thank the Bishops, priests and parishioners in Vietnam and around the world who have raised their voice, who have defended, supported and prayed for us during the time we were arrested and detained in prison by the Hanoi authorities. Thank you for praying for our families and in particular, thank you for praying for my mother in her ailing health who has now been returned to God.
I would like to thank the Priests of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer who advocated for peace and justice and continued to pray for us. Together with Vietnam Redemptorist News who worked hard and spent time to send information to the public in Vietnam and abroad a more accurate and clearer view of our cases.
I would like to thank all of the supporters in Saigon, Hanoi, Nghe An, who have been concerned and continued to support us. In particularly, during the days my mother, Maria Do Thi Tan, was in poor health. Everyone supported us financially, visited and cared for us, and shared the painful burden. When my mother passed away, everyone took care of the funeral and burial regardless of their distance.
I would thank my neighbors who supported my mother in the months she was very ill. When my mother passed away, they paid their respects as they placed her to her final resting place.
I would like to thank international broadcasters such as BBC, RFA, RFI, VOA, Radio New Horizon, SBTN, which regularly reported updates regarding the case of 14 Catholic youths, for the world to understand our patriotic action and compassion for the struggle for human rights and a democratic and free Vietnam.
I would like to thank international organisations including Human Rights Watch, Reporters Sans Frontiers, Front Line Defenders who have strongly voiced their opinions on the Vietnamese government’s unjustful sentencing and imprisonment of social activists.
I thank politicians, governments who have been interested about our case and voiced their concerns, imploring the government to free us. I want to especially thank the government of the United States, which personally visited the Nam Ha Prison on May 8, 2015 and asked about the prison conditions, as well as the beating I endured during my stay.
I thank friends in the free press who continuously wrote in opposition to the injustice of the sentencing and objectively about our case.
I thank all of the friends abroad who have supported us, offered encouragement and shared the burden, hardships and pain that we endured in the four years imprisonment by the communist regime.
This acknowledgement is by a person recently released from prison who may have forgotten or not known about the work contributed by individuals and civil society organisations. I sincerely apologise.
With the reasons stated above, I send all of you, the priests and parishioners and friends my sincere thanks and profound gratitude from the bottom of my heart. I wish you all the grace, peace and happiness in your life.
Paulus Le Van Son