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 .
During 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.
Pastor 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.
The 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 .