Vietnam Police "Publicly" Torture And Kill Degar Montagnard Christians To Warn House Churches

Thursday, June 7, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

HANOI, VIETNAM (BosNewsLife) -- Police in Vietnam publicly torture and kill Degar Montagnard Christians in the country's Central Highlands as a warning to house churches to stop their activities, a major advocacy group alleged Wednesday, June 6.

The Montagnard Foundation Incorporated, which represents Degar Montagnard believers in the region, said 30-year-old Dieu Suoi died of injuries last week, May 31, due to "severe torture he received from Vietnamese police and prison officials." He was initially detained on September 14, 2005, because he refused to join the official church and to end his "illegal" house church activities, MFI said.

"The police tied him up and brought him in front of the villagers...[They] began striking him with their hands and kicked him with their boots." Police allegedly gave him electrical shocks "and beat him with batons until he was unconscious," before throwing him in their truck and taking him to a prison in Daknong province.

Last year, April 20, 2006, Dieu Suoi reportedly received up to three years in prison for allegedly "resisting" the Vietnamese government. While behind bars, he was "repeatedly tortured" and by May 2007 "his health deteriorated to the point he could no longer walk or stand upright," MFI claimed.


On May 27, 2007 security police brought him back to his wife and parents who could "barely recognize him" because of the torture. Under pressure police took him to hospital in Daknong province, where he died two days later on the morning of May 29, 2007, MFI said, adding that he was buried by his family the next day.

A fellow Christian, identified as Siu H’Krong, 55, allegedly died last month, May 3, at her home after undergoing unnecessary surgery, her family said in a statement released by MFI. She initially visited a hospital March 10 with stomach pains but was told to come back nine days later.

"When Siu H’Krong finally arrived at the hospital in Pleiku city on March 20, 2007" she was forced to undergo a surgical operation and send home eight days later by doctors whop claimed they could "not find anything wrong," with her, MFI said. However Siu H’Krong was "extremely upset" and died soon afterwards, the group explained. "Her family feels she was merely experimented on," as has been the case with other Degar Montagnard Christians, MFI said.


These are no isolated incidents, human rights watchers say. Last week MFI said that Vietnamese security forces tortured and killed at least two other Christian Degar Montagnards in Vietnam's Central Highlands and allegedly murdered relatives of religious prisoners.

On Wednesday, June 6, villagers apparently for the first time, also published details about the apparent killing of Y-Kuot Enuol, 41 year old Degar Montagnard Christian from the village of Buon Dha Prong in Daklak province.

He died on December 5, 2004 after torture in prison where he was serving time for his involvement in a "peaceful" pro-democracy demonstration, MFI added. The man "was arrested, tortured and sent to a prison facility in the province of Ha Nam on May 13, 2001 because of his involvement with a peaceful demonstration February of 2001.


He was later released from prison in early 2004 but the Vietnamese security police re-arrested him again on July 18, 2004 and sent him to prison at Dai Phat Thanh in the city of Buonmathuot."

Security police allegedly tortured him "severely." They "tied up his hands and feet and hung him upside down and then used their martial arts on him including boxing and kicking on his body and face until he was unconscious."

Fearing he would die, police eventually sent him home, but villagers were not able to find treatment for him to avoid his death, MFI explained. Vietnamese government officials have consistently denied MFI allegations of human rights abuses calling then "propaganda" against the Communist state.


The US State Department removed Vietnam from its annual list of 'Countries of Particular Concern' regarding religious rights abuses, a move that was condemned by human rights groups. MFI says many Degar Montagnards are attacked because many of them are Christians and supported American troops during the Vietnam War. About 350 predominantly Christian Degar Montagnards are believed to be in jails across the country.

US-based MFI said it will conduct "a peaceful demonstration" in Washington DC, June 16, at 10 am local time outside the White House "calling for an end to persecution" of their people "and for US President George W. Bush to raise the Montagnard Degar issue" with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet when he meets with him at the White House this month.

Following the peaceful demonstration a prayer vigil was to be held in the afternoon at the Vietnam Wall Memorial "in honor of America’s fallen soldiers during the Vietnam War." (With reports from Vietnam).

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