09/29/2017, 14.19
VIETNAM
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Dissident Buddhist hermit arrested in An Giang

Vuong Van Tha used a loudspeaker to slam the government’s "mistakes and crimes". After he was taken into custody on 18 May 2017, his family heard nothing for three months. He had been released in 2016 after a three-year sentence for "abusing democratic freedoms". The authorities limit the activities of religious groups.

Hanoi (AsiaNews/RFA) – Vietnamese authorities have held Vuong Van Tha, a member of an unsanctioned sect of Hoa Hao Buddhism, in solitary confinement since his arrest in May, this according to the Interfaith Council of Vietnam, a group that promotes religious freedom in the country.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Council noted that Tha’s detention violates the country’s constitution. It said that police had taken the hermit into custody on 18 May along with his son and two of his cousins after laying siege to the family’s home in southern Vietnam’s An Giang province.

The family was not notified of the whereabouts of Tha and his three relatives until receiving an announcement more than three months later, informing them that they had been detained at Bang Lang Prison, in An Giang’s Long Xuyen district.

Prior to his arrest in May, Tha had used a loudspeaker to speak out against what he called the “mistakes and crimes” of Vietnam’s government.

He was released from prison in August 2016 after serving a three-year sentence for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens”.

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