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The story of Rcom Gliu who was forcibly returned to Vietnam by the UNHCR

5/5/07 Vietnam (Montagnard Foundation) A few days ago named Rcom Gliu a Degar House Church Christian was released from prison after being repeatedly tortured in March and April 2007. Security forces also threatened him and his family members with torture and imprisonment if he attends further house church prayer meetings or reports his situation to the international community. Rcom Gliu was born in 1978 and is from Plei Del village, Ia To commune, Ia Grai District, Gialai province. He had been forcibly returned back to Vietnam by the UN refugee body (UNHCR) in Cambodia on 9 September 2005 after previously fleeing to Cambodia . The Vietnamese government since that time has arrested, tortured and imprisoned him on numerous occasions thus breaking promises to the international community they would not retaliate against returnees. The details of his situation are as follows with key dates of his torture stretching back to 2005.

ON 25 APRIL 2007 the Vietnamese security police summoned Rcom Gliu’s father to collect Rcom Gliu from the prison at the district of Ia Grai. When his father arrived at the prison the security police first warned them that:

If Rcom Gliu goes to worship again in the church with many people, we will arrest and send him to prison again and if we even see him walking on the street like he used to do, we will arrest and send him to prison again. “If Rcom Gliu reports to the people in the United States of America about what we have done to him, we will arrest and send him to prison again.”

When Rcom Gliu got home, he could barely stand due to the torture he received whilst in custody. He could barely eat also because his ribs were cracked or broken. His father did manage to get permission to take him to the hospital for X-Ray but security police however, keep him under close surveillance and two security police follow him and keep watch on his house all the time. One of the security police is named “Tuan” and the other is unknown. The security police also prevent Rcom Gliu’s relatives and friends from other villages from visiting him and threaten them with imprisonment if they talk to him.

ON 13 APRIL 2007 Rcom Gliu’s wife tried to visit her husband in prison but the security police refused to let her see him and sent her away.

ON 7 APRIL 2007 Rcom Gliu’s wife went to see him at the prison in the district of Ia Grai and saw her husband suffering from effects of torture. Blood was still coming out from his nose and mouth and she cried and took her handkerchief to wipe the blood from his mouth. He was too weak to eat so she bought some milk and tried feeding him.

ON 5 APRIL 2007 at approximately 8 am Rcom Gliu was walking with his wife and his three year old child to their farm, only a few hundred yards from their house when two Vietnamese security police in a jeep stopped them and took them to their office at the commune of Ia To. Here, the police handcuffed Rcom Gliu and took him to the police station at Ia Grai district and he was mercilessly tortured. The Vietnamese security police used their martial art skills, karate chopping on his neck, boxing on his face and ears, kicking him on his sides and face. They also stomped him on his back and beat him with their batons over his entire body until he became unconscious. The police feared he had died and so quickly rushed him to a nearby clinic and gave him some kind of drug. When he awoke the police took him back to prison and put him in the cell with the Vietnamese criminal prisoners. Here, the Vietnamese criminal prisoners with encouragement from the police seized Rcom Gliu and stretched out his arms and feet as they tied him to the wall and beat him up until he became unconscious again.

ON 13 MARCH 2007 the Vietnamese security police summoned Rcom Gliu to their office in the commune of Ia To. He arrived there around 7 am. The police then took him to their station at Ia Grai district where they tortured him by using martial art skills, karate, chopping his neck, boxing him on his face and ears with their fists, kicking him, stomping on his body and beating him with batons until he became unconscious. On 23 March 2007 the security police called his father to take him home from the prison.

SEVERAL YEARS PREVIOUSLY ON 23 NOVEMBER 2005 (after his forced return from Cambodia by the UNHCR) Rcom Gliu was interrogated by the Vietnamese security police of Ia To commune who asked him the following questions:

Question 1: Why do you follow Degar Church ? You must stop following Degar Church .

Rcom Gliu: I will not stop following Degar Church because I want to worship the true Living God not human being or religion created by government.

Question 2: Why did you run to Cambodia ?

Rcom Gliu: I ran to Cambodia because I am afraid of being arrested, tortured, imprisoned and murdered by your government like I have seen many of my people have been through.

Question 3: Why you did not want to come back and live with Vietnamese government?

Rcom Gliu: How can you live with someone who wants to kill you?

The police became enraged with his answers stating: “You really are a hard headed person” and tortured him by boxing him with their hands, kicking him with their boots and beating him with batons. They repeated the torture for several hours. At midday however, the police went to lunch leaving him handcuffed to a table leg. This is where he managed to escape and went into hiding. In March of 2006 Rcom Gliu was so ill and had no one took care of him at his hiding place in the forest. So, he decided to return to his village believing he would be better off seeing his family a last time before he would die of illness or got killed by security forces.


Ø Concerned Embassies, the Red Cross and the international community to urgently demand Vietnam to cease harassment of Rcom Gliu and his family and ensure he gets urgent medical attention; and for Vietnam to release all 350 Degar prisoners as identified in the Human Rights Watch report of 14 June 2006.


Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to pursue a permanent humanitarian presence in the Central Highlands by US, UN and international NGOs in order to address the underlying causes of the persecution of the indigenous Montagnard Degar peoples.

Ø The US State Department reconsider placing Vietnam back on the ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) watch list of nations which are the most egregious violators of religious freedom.

Ø The US government holds a Congressional hearing on the situation concerning the Montagnard refugees as advised by the recent Refugee International Report of 26 April 2007. See: