Vietnam releases 4 independent Protestants after 5 days’ detention

They wrote to the president, inviting him to observe a service.
By RFA Vietnamese
2023.11.06
Vietnam releases 4 independent Protestants after 5 days’ detention Protestants in Vietnam’s Central Highlands protest against the suppression of religious freedom.
Facebook: Montagnards for Justice

Police in Vietnam have released four independent Protestants who were detained for five days after inviting President Vo Van Thuong to observe one of their religious services.

Y Nuer Buon Dap, Y Thinh Nie, Y Cung Nie and his son Y Salemon Eban returned home on Saturday.

The first three were arrested on Oct. 31 and taken to the headquarters of Cu M'gar District Police. Another man, Y Phuc Nie, was arrested the same day, but he was released on Nov. 2.

Y Salemon Eban was arrested on Nov. 3 while his mother, H Tuyen Eban was interrogated by district police on Nov. 2.

“The police forced us to work all day, from 7:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. before going to bed, but we were not beaten. We were well fed during the days of our arrest," one of the arrested men told Radio Free Asia, asking to remain anonymous for legal reasons.

He said the police questioned them about their views on religious freedom and civil society.

Before releasing the Protestants, the police told them to stop practicing religion independently and not to study civil society, saying its aim was to oppose the government.

They were also told not to participate in the Aug. 22 International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief and the Dec. 10 International Human Rights Day.

“We cannot accept restrictions on the exercise of freedom of religion and freedom of movement . We will continue to practice religion in our family,” said one of the Protestants.

“What 's wrong with studying civil society? We study according to Vietnamese law and international law and have no intention of opposing the government.”

RFA Vietnamese called Cu M'gar District Police to verify the information, but the person who answered asked the reporter to go to the agency's headquarters and speak to the person in charge.

Many Montagnard families in Dak Lak and some provinces in the Central Highlands follow Protestantism but are not in a state-approved religious organization.

They have no leaders, no organizational structure, everyone in the group has equal rights and equality with each other. Pastors are just trusted representatives of their group.

Since the beginning of 2023, independent Protestant groups have sent four invitations to local authorities and President Vo Van Thuong to attend religious activities to prove that they have no intention of opposing state-approved religions or the government.

Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn and Elaine Chan.

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