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HANOI, Vietnam, NOV. 24, 2004 ( <>).- A court in Vietnam’s restive Central Highlands sentenced 17 Montagnard tribesmen to up to 10 years in prison for undermining national security and unity during an Easter weekend protest. The Montagnards, most of whom are Christians, are subjected to persecution by the government. This year, on the eve of the Easter celebrations, a peaceful manifestation in Buon Ma Thuot, capital of the province of Dac Lak, was violently suppressed. Area tribes were protesting against the government’s restrictions of their Christian faith and the confiscation of their ancestral lands. They also called for development of their region, among the poorest in Vietnam. Official sources announced that last week, in three separate trials in Dac Nong province, the provincial People’s Court handed down prison terms of three to 10 years to 17 Montagnards.