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VIETNAM – Three Christians arrested for gathering to worship

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Three Degar Montagnard Christians have been arrested for gathering for worship in April 2010. Below is the report by the Montagnard Foundation, issued on 21 May 2010.

The information below was received from the Vietnam’s Central Highlands concerning ongoing religious repression of independent House Church Christians.

On April 8, 2010 a group of six Vietnamese security forces arrested three Degar Montagnard Christians accusing them of refusing to join the official government sponsored Church and for gathering in a private place for worship. All three Degar Christians are from the village of Plei Amui So, commune Binh Giao, Plei Ku city in Gia Lai province, Vietnam and their names are as follows:

Blo Rahlan, born 1985
Bong Kpuih, DOB unknown
Neng Kpuih, DOB unknown

The detail of their arrest is as follows. During the interrogation, the security forces asked all three men “What is your religion; why do you not follow the government sanctioned religion?”  When the men told what their religion was the security force interjected “If you don’t worship [the national religion], you do not worship God. You worship the Degar”. One of the Degar men named Blo Rahlan responded “We do worship the Lord; we simply want a place where all we Degars can come and worship together.”

The security forces questioned further “What church are you affiliated with”. Blo Rahlan replied “We follow the Church of God for the Degar People, based in America” the Vietnamese security force signaled the Degar security force, named ‘Nghiep Rahlan’ who then struck Blo Rahlan on the back and kicked him in the thigh with military boots. Nghiep Rahlan the security police slapped Blo on each side of his head seven times and then stuck him on both sides of his abdomen. Blo Rahlan was released to his village with swellings and bruises on his body from the beatings. The other two Montagnards were also released and all three were threatened with imprisonment and torture if they continue with illegal religious activities.

This tactic of harassing, beating and torturing Degar Christians is part of the Vietnamese communist government policy to repress house church Christians. Numerous incidents have been reported of security forces randomly summoning Degars for questions regarding their religious beliefs and activities. While some sessions involve Degars detained for long period of time others involve release under house surveillance. Many arrests involve torture, beatings, imprisonment and even killings of Degars.

To read the complete report, please click here.