» 10/21/2013, 00.00
Mennonite pastor abused in prison in Vietnam
J.B. An Dang
Nguyen Cong Chinh , 44, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in March 2012 for " undermining national unity ." According to his wife, he was attacked in his cell but the guards failed to intervene. He has wounds to his body and face. Couples meetings taped.
Hanoi ( AsiaNews)
- " I fear for his life, because he has often been the victim of violent
attacks by other inmates". The complaint
comes from Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong , wife of the Protestant Christian Nguyen Cong
Chinh (pictured) , who was imprisoned in the An Phuoc jail and is a constant
victim of ill-treatment and abuse by guards and fellow inmates . The
man, a 44 year old Mennonite pastor , was arrested by the police in April 2011
and sentenced in March last year to 11 years in prison . The
allegations against him - specious and the result of attempts to suppress voices
critical of the communist regime - he had "undermined national unity"
and "took an active part in movements that oppose the state."
On 18 August,
during a visit to her husband in prison , Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong was petrified by
her husband's face, which showed signs of beatings and abuse . He
explained that they are a consequence of repeated assaults by fellow prisoners ,
who have repeatedly attacked him for no reason. The
minister also added that, in spite of the complaint to the prison authorities,
there was no concrete action and the heads of the prison did nothing to prevent
new attacks, which go unpunished .
the last visit, on October 15, the couple was able to meet for an hour under
the gaze of warders, who filmed and recorded the meeting. His
eyes were obviously bruised and the pastor repeated that his life was "in
danger " because he was the victim of two other attacks.
Nguyen Cong Chinh , 43, was born in 1969 in the province of Quang Nam and has
exercised his ministry in the city of Pleiku, in the Central Highlands . He
was indicted for sending documents to "anti- revolutionaries " movements
in Vietnam and abroad. In
the past he was the victim of targeted attacks, including the destruction of
his prayer chapel and the confiscation of property ; since 1998 he had lived in
the province of Gia Lai without identity documents, because of the authorities'
refusal to issue them.
trial lasted one day and was held in the province of Gia Lai , where the man
was arrested in April 2011. Human
Rights Watch (HRW ) state that the sentence is " further evidence " of
violations of the principle of religious freedom by the Hanoi government . This
repression , which targets minority groups and sects that are not affiliated to
religious associations recognized by the state . The
Mennonites are the most numerous Anabaptist church. Today
there are more than one and a half million members throughout the world,
especially in the United States, Canada , Africa and in India , in Vietnam they
are not recognized in an official capacity .
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