Police Vietnamese beat wife of jailed Mennonite pastor

Tran Thi Hông met a US human rights delegation on 30 March. Police wanted her to tell them what she discussed with the US diplomats. Upon her refusal, they beat her, including kicking her in the face. Her husband, Nguyễn Công Chính, has been in prison since 2011 for crimes against the state

Hanoi (AsiaNews/EDA) – Trân Thi Hông is married to Nguyễn Công Chính, a Mennonite pastor who is in prison on charges of being an enemy of the state. Last Thursday (14 April), she was beaten by Vietnamese police in Pleiku, Gia Lai province (central Vietnam), because she refused to reveal the contents of a meeting she had with a US human rights delegation.

In the early hours of Thursday morning the head of the district police, accompanied by security officers, went to see Ms Trân.  When she refused to follow them for questioning, she was forcibly driven to the police station.

At the station, she was badly beaten to extract information about her meeting on 30 March 30 with an American delegation led by David V. Muehlke, First Secretary at the US Embassy in Hanoi, and David Saperstein, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.

Having refused to talk, and now unconscious, the pastor's wife was taken home by car and dumped by the roadside in front of her house where she was helped by neighbours.

Rev Nguyễn Công Chính, 44, is a Mennonite clergyman. He was arrested by police in April 2011 and sentenced in March of last year to 11 years in prison on specious charges, like “undermining national unity” and “actively taking part in movements that are opposed to the State".

The pastor had been targeted before. On one occasion, his prayer house was destroyed, and seized by the authorities.

He had been living in Gia Lai province since 1998, undocumented because the authorities have refused to give him identity papers.

Since he was jailed, there have been several alarming reports about his health conditions and mistreatment in prison.