Wednesday, September 24, 2014   

Vietnam court lets Catholic protesters walk free
(12-08 19:40)

A court in Vietnam allowed eight Catholics to walk free with suspended jail terms for disturbing public order and damaging property in protest vigils over a land dispute.

The defendants were among thousands of parishioners who joined prayer meetings and peaceful rallies over the past 12 months in the capital Hanoi calling for the return of church properties seized by the state half a century ago.

Hundreds of Catholic supporters on Monday cheered and presented flowers to the defendants, four men and four women, as they left the Hanoi court building.

Seven of the Catholics received suspended jail terms of 12 to 15 months, minus time already spent in custody, and administrative probation of up to two years, while one defendant received a warning, said the presiding judge.

   
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