Vietnam Pastor Threatens To Sue Government After Church Raid
Saturday, 27 May 2006
By BosNewsLife News Center
HANOI, VIETNAM (BosNewsLife)– Vietnam’s well-known Mennonite Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang, whose church and adjacent home in Ho Chi Minh City was raided by security forces, said Saturday, May 27, he was “badly beaten” at his thighs and stomach and warned his congregation will sue the Communist government.
In a statement obtained by BosNewsLife, the pastor said the ” Mennonite Church has more than enough evidences to sue the Vietnamese Communist government before any international judicial courts.” It was not immediately clear when and if the pastor would be able to start judicial procedures.
He made the comments a day after BosNewsLife published details about secretly recorded video footage showing how dozens of security forces, including police and secret service agents attacked his church and home.
Friends told BosNewsLife that family members, including babies, and other church members were either beaten or electrocuted by Vietnamese officers wielding nightsticks as well as electric cattle prods
Several church members were badly injured as a result of being pushed from a height of five meters to the concrete floor, local Christians said. In the recording viewed by BosNewsLife, women could be heard crying as security forces continued to use force against the Christians. At least one security member tried to destroy the metal roof with a slash hammer above the complex in Binh Khanh Ward of District Two.
The pastor, who became known for his fight for human and religious rights in Vietnam , was briefly detained along with other former Mennonite prisoners Pham Ngoc Thach, Nguyen Huu Nghia and Le Thi Hong Lien, as police apparently objected to the use of a building permit used by the church, local Christians said.
They were released the following evening, BosNewsLife learned.
During the raid, authorities claimed that the construction work exceeded the scope of the permit, but Christians suggested the real reason may be rooted in the hostility of local officials towards the church.
“This is my own home, my property and I have every rights to live in here,” he could be heard saying. “I have my rights to live in my home, my property,” the pastor added.
“Do you have search or arrest warrants,” he wondered, adding that he received the city’s permit “to elevate” his home because of floods.
He also pledged that “living in these oppressed and miserable conditions I vow to fight back and die right here,” an apparent reference to possible judicial steps. The pastor, known for his fight for religious and human rights in Vietnam , had tried to improve the floor of his small home, which is also used as a tiny Mennonite chapel.
However “his house and chapel have now been completely torn down and destroyed by the group of police and gangsters,” said Viet Si, a close friend and activist of the International Movement for Freedom and Democracy in Vietnam in an interview with BosNewsLife.
Vietnamese authorities have not reacted to the latest developments, but have in the past denied any wrongdoing calling reports about persecution “Western propaganda.” News of the raid comes amid growing concerns over a new crackdown on Christians in Vietnam .
Pastor Quang was one of six Christians, who became known as the Mennonite Six, after being sentenced to terms ranging from six months to three years in connection with an incident in March 2004. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from Vietnam ).
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