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Vietnam ’s War On Christian House Churches Continues As Authorities Targets Prisoner’ S Wives

7/23/07 Vietnam (Montagnard Foundation) – In May 2007, a mixed force of approximately 30 armed security police and soldiers have regularly swept through the three women’s village below threatening the villagers to cease Christian House Church activities. The three women below were singled out because their husbands are imprisoned for religious and human rights activities.

On 29 May 2007, a Degar woman named Siu H’Hnet reported to Vietnamese security police at Ia Ko commune as she had been summoned for interrogation. She was born in 1976 and from Ploi Tai Glai village, commune Ia Ko, district Cu Se, Gia Lai province. Her husband’s name is K’pa Cin (born 1965) who was imprisoned on November 16, 2006 at T-20 prison in Plei Ku for possessing a cell phone and for contacting Degars in America . She reported to police at Ia Ko commune at 7:30am and was detained until 5:00 pm before being released. During the entire time she was denied food and water and threatened with imprisonment unless she signs documents (see below). Before they released her, the security police forced a pen in her hand and made her sign them warning her that if she disobeys them she will be arrested and tortured. They forced her to agree that she must:

1. Not become affiliated with the Degar House Church movement

2. Not provide shelter or food to House Church Christians hiding in the jungles

3. Not worship God or Jesus

4. Not accept any money or letters sent from America

5. Not travel to other cities or districts.

On 30 May 2007, security police from the same commune had also summoned two other women to report to them for interrogation at the same police station. Their details are as follows:

Rmah H’Nher (born 1976) is from Ploi Tai Glai village, commune Ia Ko, district Cu Se, Gia Lai province. Her husband is Kpa Binh (born 1976) who was arrested and imprisoned on September 16, 2006 at the T-20 prison facility in Plei Ku for possession of a cell phone.

Kpa H’Plo (born 1973) from Ploi Tai Glai village, commune Ia Ko, district Cu Se, Gia Lai province. Her husband is Rahlan Then (born 1972) who was arrested on December 14, 2006 (prison site unknown) for being a House Church Christian who refused to join the government sanctioned church and for contacting the Montagnard Foundation.

Both these woman reported for interrogation at the police station at approximately 7:30 am and were held without food and water until 5:00 pm in the evening. They were then released but security police threatened them and physically forced them to sign their names on documents agreeing to conditions and if they disobey such conditions they will be arrested and tortured. The security police forced them to sign documents stating that they must:

1. Not become affiliated with the Degar House Church movement

2. Not provide shelter or food to House Church Christians hiding in the jungles

3. Not worship God or Jesus

4. Not accept any money or letters sent from America

5. Not travel to other cities or districts.

The Montagnard Foundation Calls On:

Ø Concerned Embassies, the Red Cross and other international humanitarian agencies to urgently check the welfare of these women and request Vietnam cease persecuting them.

Ø Concerned Embassies, Red Cross and international community urgently demand Vietnam release and account for all Degar prisoners including those 350 identified in the Human Rights Watch report of 14 June 2006. http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/14/vietna13542.htm

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

Ø The US State Department place Vietnam back on the ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) the watch list of the most egregious state violators of religious freedom.

The Montagnard Foundation would like to make it clear to the international community, especially to governments who aid Vietnam ; that Degar House Church Christians cannot accept a religion that is forced upon us or controlled by any government. We want our God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, our religion is nothing and our people believe that only the Holy Spirit can convince people to believe in God. The Montagnard Foundation (MFI) further pledges peaceful means of advocacy in the spirit of democracy and international cooperation. MFI does not seek independence but prays that all Degar people, whether they are Protestant, Catholic or animist will one day live freely as equal citizens within Vietnam . .