Saturday, March 04, 2006

Pham Ngoc Thach Released

With the release of Evangelist Pham Ngoc Thach from prison yesterday, the final tragic chapter of the so-called "Mennonite Six" saga comes to an end. His release had been expected, but it was still a relief. To learn that he had been singled out for severe mistreatment comes as no surprise. Thach maintained his innocence to the end, as he rightfully should have. His arrest and sentencing was a miscarriage of justice. Thach and the five other Mennonites were charged with "resisting officers of the law while doing their duty." In reality all they did was insist that the investigating policemen should follow correct legal procedures.

Together with friends and partners around the world, The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada took a leading role in advocacy work on behalf of the Mennonite Six and we are grateful for all of you who prayed and wrote letters on their behalf. Your voices were heard around the world and, as a result, so were the voices of Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang, Pham Ngoc Thach, Nguyen Thanh Phuong, Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Nguyen Huu Nghia, and Le Thi Hong Lien.

If you have not yet viewed the video report that The Voice of the Martyrs and Release International produced in late 2004 on the plight on these six courageous believers and their families, I would recommend that you do take the opportunity to do so now, as we will likely be taking it offline shortly. It can be seen on our multimedia website You will be touched by the faith of these dear saints.

Again, thank you for your partnership in remembering those in bonds. Continue to pray for Thach. The other five Mennonites have reported continued harassment from Vietnamese authorities since their release. On second thought, I suppose that it is premature to say that the saga of the Mennonite Six has ended. In many ways, it is still ongoing.

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