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For Immediate Release

Vietnamese Women Arrested for Not Joining State Church

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address www.www.persecution.org. Contact Jeff King President, 301-989-1708, icc@www.persecution.org

(June 12, 2006) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC)
www.www.persecution.org has just become informed that Vietnamese authorities have arrested and imprisoned two Christian women after they refused to join the State-controlled church on May 23, 2006.
Rahlan H’Riem and Nay H’Brek are from Bon Tang village, Phu Can Commune, Krong Pa District, Gialai Province . They were arrested on May 23, 2006 by a Vietnamese police officer named Lt. Colonel Le Hoang Phong. They were imprisoned at Krong Pa District prison because they refused to join the official government recognized Church headed by “Siu Kim.”

The Vietnamese police from Krong Pa district, Tran The Chanh, first summoned and interrogated Rahlan H’Riem on November 4, 15, and 16 of 2005. He told Rahlan H’Riem that she must stop worshiping God and instead follow Siu Kim and his church, or else he would put her in prison. Rahlan H’Riem responded that she would not follow Siu Kim or his church because her desire was to serve the Lord God and her Savior Jesus Christ. She said that without the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the religion is in vain.

Another Vietnamese police officer from Krong Pa district, Lt. Colonel Le Hoang Phong, then summoned and interrogated her at his office in the district three times on March 8, 9 and May 23 of 2006. Each time, he threatened to imprison her if she did not follow the official government-recognized church headed by Siu Kim. She responded each time that she would not follow Siu Kim or his church because he could not save her soul. She told the official that only God and her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ could save her soul.

Because of her refusal, Lt. Colonel Le Hoang Phong arrested Rahlan H’Riem and her mother in law Nai H’Brek and put them in prison at the district of Krong Pa.

BACKGROUND

The indigenous Montagnard Degar Peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam have suffered decades of persecution by the government of Vietnam , namely; confiscation of their ancestral lands, religious repression because of their Christian faith, torture, killings and imprisonment. In May 2006 the US State Department again decided to put Vietnam on the “watch list” of countries that are the worst violators of religious freedom. To date over 350 Degar prisoners remain in Vietnamese prisons for charges involving standing up for human rights, spreading Christianity and fleeing to Cambodia . Vietnamese soldiers continuing a campaign of brutal repression and religious persecution is a key factor of Vietnam ’s policy of control and repression. The information above was received direct from the Central Highlands .
ICC thanks the Montagnard Foundation for bringing the above situation to our attention.


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ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441. To be removed from this press release list, hit reply and put “remove from PR list” in the subject line.