Tomorrow and the day after in the Thai Ha parish. Cu Huy Vu Ha is a lawyer who risks 20 years in prison on charges of slandering the authorities and seeking to overthrow the regime, in favour of a multiparty system.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - Two prayer vigils have been organised for tomorrow and the day after at the Redemptorist parish of Thai Ha, in Hanoi, "in favor of the lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu, justice and truth," says the superior of the monastery, Father Mathew Vu Khoi Phung.

A trial against the lawyer, a noted human rights activist, opens Monday. The lawyer, who is not Catholic, became famous after the complaint filed against Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, over the exploitation by the Chinese of bauxite mines in the Central Highlands. And in October, he again denounced the prime minister for a decree that prohibits groups to submit petitions or complaints against the government.

The lawyer and his wife, Duong Ha, have expressed support for the Catholics of Con Dau, Da Nang and offered for their defense, but was denied permission.

In preparation for the celebration of the 11th Communist Party Congress, held in January, Vu was arrested, along with other human rights activists. On February 17, he was charged with propaganda against the state for publishing articles and giving interviews to foreign newspapers aimed at "defaming the authority of popular government, waging a psychological war aimed at overthrowing the regime and calling for a multiparty system." He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Vu has a significant past. He is the son of an eminent poet, Cu Huy Can, who earned a political role in Vietnam in so far as that he was a companion of the father of Vietnamese communism, Ho Chi Minh during the Indochina and Vietnam War since 1945.

The redemptorists are aware that the prayer vigils, also requested by the family of the lawyer, "could cause new problems for us. In any case, says Father Mathew Vu - we have a responsibility to be on the right side of justice and truth. We do not aim to create 'sensitive' situations. We are facing 'extremely sensitive' problems and we can not simply stand by and do nothing”.

Hanoi authorities have repeatedly called for the expulsion from the capital of Father Matthew Vu and other Redemptorists.

The resignation of Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet and a series of attacks against Catholics seem to want to bring the Church/state relationship back to what it was prior to 2008, when the protests by Catholics erupted in the country.

On the one hand, there are episodes of forced renunciation of faith, violence, pressure and arrests against Christians of from the provinces and Highlands. There are priests and even bishops who are prohibited from celebrating Mass or carrying out their pastoral activities. On the other hand, an attempt to revive the activities of the "patriotic" Catholics. Articles and speeches praising the "contribution of Catholics" are published by state media, while the authorities aim for the complete submission of the faithful to the Party.