(ANS) – The fate of Montagnard Degar Christians being held in Vietnam ‘s notorious Ba Sao Prison is being questioned by an organization dedicated to preserving their rights. Kok Ksor, President of the Montagnard Foundation Inc., an organization representing the interests of the indigenous Montagnard Degar Christians, states, “The conditions inside Vietnam’s prisons is medieval and so many of our people have been brutally tortured there.” On 20 July 2005, numerous news agencies reported Cambodian authorities forcibly deported approximately 100 Degar Montagnard Christians back to Vietnam who had fled the crackdown in Vietnam . Various human rights groups denounced the move.
US State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli stated on 20 July 2005, “We have raised U.S. objections to this involuntary repatriation with both the governments of Cambodia and Vietnam . We are disappointed that these individuals were repatriated before an internationally-staffed monitoring program was in place in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and before other solutions could be considered for these individuals.” MFI says that currently there are an estimated 200 Montagnards Christians in Vietnamese communist prisons who have received harsh prison sentences of up to thirteen years since 2001 for their Christian religious activities, participation in peaceful protests, or for attempting to flee to Cambodia .