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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Nguyen Van Lia


Nguyen Van Lia is a longtime adherent of Hoa Hao Buddhism, a religious group often suppressed by the government, and the co-author of several Hoa Hao Buddhist religious instruction texts and books.  He is charged with violating article 258 of the penal code for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state,” a crime that could result in a sentence of up to seven years.  According to state media, he possessed printed materials, CD’s, and DVD’s criticizing the Vietnamese government’s religious record.  He had previously met with the U.S. Consulate and USCIRF officials in Saigon.  He was sentenced to a five-year term on December 13, 2011 on the charge of “abusing democratic freedoms.”

Advocate: Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)