The Montagnard Foundation, Inc., a group dedicated to the preservation of the indigenous people of Central Vietnam, has told the ASSIST News Service (ANS) that three Degar Christians have been tortured and imprisoned for their faith.
The grounp says that it has discovered that on May 5, 2010 Vietnamese security forces entered the village of Plei De Alao and arrested three Degar Christians and brought them to the police head-quarters in Lo Pang commune.
“The security forces then asked each man about their religion… and events that took placed in 2006 in the village of Plei Hamong Ktu in Kontum province where 400 people had gathered for a peaceful prayer vigil,” said the spokesperson for the group. “Each of the Degar men was handed a document and were threatened to sign it to recant their religion. The three Degar men refused to sign.
“The security forces then used wooden sticks and beat the three Degar men with it. The defenseless Christians eventually lost consciousness from the beatings. Security forces continued threatening the men demanding they sign the document. When they did not, they were struck repeatedly with wooden sticks. The simultaneous tactic of beating and questioning lasted until noon. Relatives of the Degar men tried to visit them but the security forces told them the men were transferred to a different police station.”
All three Degar men are from the village of Plei De-Alao, commune of Lopang, district of Mang Yang in the province of Gia Lai.
“To our knowledge they have not been released and their whereabouts are unknown,” said the spokesperson.
Their names are below:
1) A Mum – age 30
2) A Yu – age 26
3) A Ben – age 40
The spokesperson then said that the Montagnard Foundation Urgently Calls On:
* Concerned Embassies, US State Department, European Commission, United Nations, Red Cross and other international humanitarian agencies to do everything in their power to ensure these three victims are released from prison and given urgent medical attention; and also that the hundreds of other Degar prisoners imprisoned in Vietnam are released.
* The US State Department seriously review the continuing religious persecution of house church Christians and place Vietnam back on the “Country of Particular Concern” watch list as recommended by the US International Commission of Religious Freedom.
* The US State Department seriously considers initiating a dialogue between the Degar people and the Vietnamese government in order to peacefully resolve the religious freedom and human rights issues in Vietnam.
The spokesperson concluded by saying, “The Montagnard Foundation reiterates clearly that our goal is to peacefully co-exist in Vietnam as equal citizens with our human rights and indigenous rights being fully protected.”
For more information, go to: http://www.montagnard-foundation.org
Dan Wooding, Assist News Service