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Ethnic pair jailed for threatening Vietnam unity

Vietnam has jailed two members of a Christian ethnic minority group after finding them guilty of undermining national unity, state media said on Tuesday, November 16, 2010.

Montagnards Christians at prayer inside of Vietnam

According to Mohideen Mifthah, in a story carried in the Sunday Times of Sri Lanka (http://www.sundaytimes.lk), a court in the Central Highlands province of Phu Yen jailed one man in his forties for six years and another man aged about 30 for four years, said Nhan Dan, the Vietnam Communist party daily.

“The pair, both ethnic Montagnards, have also been sentenced respectively to three and two years of house arrest after their prison terms,” said Mifthah.

“They were accused of having contacts with and receiving instructions from a member of ‘Dega’, a separatist Protestant organisation based in the United States, which Vietnamese authorities accuse of threatening national unity.”

The jailed pair were found guilty of “encouraging local minorities to protest, to cause a breach of the peace, to divide national unity and to call for the creation of the Dega state,” the report added.

“Around 2,000 members of the largely Christian Montagnards community fled to Cambodia in 2001 and 2004 after security forces crushed protests against land confiscations and religious persecution,” Mifthah added.

Note: This story is based on information from AFP, which traces its history back to the 1835 creation of Agence Havas, the world’s first international news agency. Journalists in the resistance seized the Paris headquarters in August 1944 as France was liberated from Nazi occupation, renaming the agency Agence France-Presse

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