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ICC Note

Nguyen Cong Chinh is a pastor in Vietnam that was wrongfully accused and convicted of undermining national solidarity. Since 2011, he has been serving an 11-year sentence in a prison in Dong Nai province. He has suffered extreme torture and harassment while in prison. Now, officials are attempting to convince him that his wife has been unfaithful to him while he is in prison. This is one of the many efforts of the prison guards to force Pastor Chinh, a prisoner of conscience, to give up his struggle for religious freedom.

06/02/2017 Vietnam (UCA News) – Vietnamese officials have been accused of using shameful and divisive tactics to force a prisoner of conscience to give up his struggle for religious freedom.

“I was shocked when my husband said on May 11 that public security officials from Hanoi came to the camp and told him that I had been unfaithful,” said Tran Thi Hong, who recently visited her husband Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh in Xuan Loc Prison, Dong Nai province.

“The officials asked him ‘don’t you know anything about your wife?’ and said ‘she is committing adultery with a man,'” Hong told ucanews.com.

“The communist government maliciously lied to separate our family and force my husband to accept his crimes as a condition for his freedom,” Hong said, adding that prison officials have mistreated him in prison for six years.

Chinh was sentenced to 11 years in 2011 for undermining national solidarity under Article 87 of the Vietnam penal code.

“He did not commit any crime. He is a victim of religious persecution. As a pastor, he only fought for the free religious practice of Christians from ethnic minority groups in the central highlands,” she said.

During the visit, Hong and her four children talked with Chinh through iron bars for 45 minutes while five prison guards watched them.

“I told him that we are God’s children and we must trust each other. If you believe their vicious slander, you will fall into their trap,” she said. “Be brave. People are working hard for you to be freed soon.”

She said Chinh has high blood pressure worsened by the prison’s salty food and suffers severe sinusitis. “I gave him food and medicine but the guards took his medicine and will only give it to him at irregular intervals,” she said.

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