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13 Degar Montagnard House Church Christians Sentenced To Prison For Religious Crimes In June 2007

7/17/07 Vietnam – On 3 June 2007 Vietnam sentenced five Degar Montagnards to prison for being House Church Christians. The hearing began at 7 am and lasted until noon. Numerous Vietnamese security police (Cong An) from the local commune and Gia Lai province testified against them. Details below:

Siu Blok (born 1953) is a Degar Montagnard Christian from Ploi Breng 1 village, commune Ia Der, district Ia Grai in Gia Lai province. He had been arrested last year on 22 June 2006 and was sentenced on 3 June 2007 to eight years imprisonment for preaching and spreading Christianity. He is a house Church Christian and currently imprisoned at T-20 prison in Plei Ku.

Puih Alum (born 1950) is a Degar Montagnard Christian from Ploi Blang 3 village, commune Ia Der, district Ia Grai in Gia Lai province. He had been arrested last year on 22 June 2006 and on 3 June 2007 he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the charge of being a House Church Christian. He is currently imprisoned at T-20 prison in Plei Ku.

Ksor Phong (born 1972) is a Degar Montagnard Christian from Ploi Sung village, commune Ia Kla, district Duc Co in Gia Lai province. He had been arrested last year on 22 June 2006 and on 3 June 2007 he was sentenced to six years imprisonment for being a House Church Christian. He is currently imprisoned at T-20 prison in Plei Ku.

Rcom Wit (DOB unknown) is a Degar Montagnard Christian from Ploi Ciom village, commune Ia Grang, district Ia Grai in Gia Lai province. He had been arrested last year on 7 June 2006 and on 3 June 2007 he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for being a House Church Christian and supporting the Montagnard Foundation. He is currently at T-20 prison in Plei Ku.

Puih Hih (born 1975) is a Degar Montagnard Christian from Ploi To Mong village, commune Ia To, district Ia Grai in the province of Gia Lai . He had been arrested last year on 7 June 2006 and on 3 June 2007 he was sentenced to six years imprisonment for supporting the Montagnard Foundation and being a House Church Christian. He is currently imprisoned at T-20 prison in Plei Ku.

HOUSE CHURCH CHRISTIANS SENTENCED TO PRISON ON 1 JUNE 2007

On 1 June 2007 at Ploi Kho Krua village, commune Ia Hru, district Cu Se in Gia Lai province, Vietnamese authorities sentenced eight Degar Montagnards to prison for being House Church Christians and possessing cell phones. One was a lady who had failed her interview for refugee status. The sentencing commenced from 7am until 1pm and numerous security police testified against them. Details below:

Nai H’Ngat (born 1975) is a female Degar Christian from Kli Kia village, commune Nhon Hao, district Cu Se in Gia Lai province. On July 20, 2005 the UNHCR forcibly returned Nai H’Ngat to Vietnamese authorities because she had failed her interview for refugee status. Subsequently one year later on June 15, 2006 Vietnamese security police arrested her. The charge for her arrest was that she was a House Church Christian and she had previously harbored refugees who had fled arrest and were hiding in the jungle. Nai H’Ngat was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

K’Pa Binh (born 1976) is a Degar Montagnard from Ploi Tai Glai village, commune Ia Ko, district Cu Se in Gia Lai province. Vietnamese officials had issued an arrest warrant for K’Pa Binh for the charge of participating in a peaceful demonstration of Easter 2004. He left his village on December 17, 2004 but on September 16, 2006 security forces arrested him and imprisoned him at T-20 prison in Plei Ku. On 1 June 2007 he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for possessing a cell phone and supporting the Montagnard Foundation.

K’Pa Cin (born 1965) is a Degar Montagnard from Ploi Kho Krua village, commune Ia Hru, district Cu Se in Gia Lai province. On 16 November 2006 security forces arrested him and imprisoned him at T-20 prison in Plei Ku. On 1 June 2007 K’Pa Cin was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for possessing a cell phone and for supporting the Montagnard Foundation.

Rmah Ca (born 1972) is a Degar Montagnard from Ploi Tao Ko village, commune Ia Hru, district Cu Se in Gia Lai province. He fled to the jungles on 7 November 2004 because security forces had issued a warrant for his arrest on the charge of being a House Church Christian. On 29 May 2006, security forces arrested Rmah Ca and sent him to T-20 prison in Plei Ku. On 1 June 2007 he was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for being a House Church Christian and for supporting the Montagnard Foundation.

Siu Ho (born 1979) is a Degar Montagnard from Ploi Tao Ko village, commune Ia Hru, district Cu Se in Gia Lai province. He fled to the jungles on 25 October 2004 because security forces issued an arrest warrant on him for participating in the peaceful demonstrations and for being a House Church Christian. On 16 November 2006 he was arrested and sent to T-20 prison in Plei Ku. On 1 June 2007 he was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

6, 7 and 8. (Three names Unknown) The names and details of three Degar Montagnard prisoners who were also sentenced on the same day are unidentified at this time. As soon as their details are received and confirmed by our contacts in Vietnam their names will be publicized.

THE MONTAGNARD FOUNDATION CALLS ON:

Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to urgently pressure Vietnam to release these prisoners and account for all 350 Degar prisoners identified in the Human Rights Watch report 14 June 2006. http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/14/vietna13542.htm

Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to urgently pressure Vietnam to permit medical teams to provide medical care to these and other prisoners in Vietnam’s prison and to those Degar Montagnards who are released from prison.

Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to pursue a permanent humanitarian presence in the Central Highlands 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.

The Montagnard Foundation pledge only peaceful means of advocacy and does not seek independence. We pray that the Degar people will one day live freely as equal citizens within Vietnam .