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PRESS RELEASE
Persecution Continues for Montagnards
Montagnard Foundation
03-May-2007
CHRISTIAN WOMAN ARRESTED FOR COLLECTING NAMES OF THE POOREST OF THE POOR

On APRIL 2, 2007 at approximately 8 am, our Christian sister named Siu H’Thik was summoned by the security police from the commune of Cu A in Gialai province to attend their office for interrogation. When Siu H’Thik arrived at the police station, the police aggressively grabbed her, hand cuffed her and took her to an unknown prison. The reason for the arrest was because she was accused of collecting the names of the poorest Degar Montagnard people in the area. Siu H’Thik was born in 1969 and she was living at the village of Plei Cuet, commune of Cu A, city Pleiku in Gialai province. Her family and relatives are extremely distressed for her welfare because it is common knowledge that security forces torture and maltreat Degar prisoners.

This woman was not involved in any political activity or wanted to overthrow the Vietnamese government. She only wanted to help the poorest of the Degar families to get help before they die of starvation, but the Vietnamese government views even this criminal activity. The Montagnard Foundation Inc. (MFI) has previously provided information direct to the US State Department on 13 May 2007 in a meeting in Washington DC that MFI has raised over 200,000 US dollars to date for humanitarian aid for the people inside the Central Highlands as well as received details of over 6000 Degar people who are suffering EXTREME POVERTY. The Montagnard Foundation receives information regularly from inside Vietnam from villagers all over the region who report that repression by security forces and the situation regarding poverty and malnutrition are current significant problems for the Degar people and especially the children.

CHRISTIAN BROTHER ARRESTED FOR COLLECTING NAMES OF THE POOR: HANGED UPSIDE DOWN AND TORTURED

On April 25, 2007 the Vietnamese police arrested and imprisoned our Christian Brother Y-Drin Nie at the prison in Buonmathuot City because they suspected him of collecting the names of the poorest Degar families. Here the security police tortured him by hanging him upside down and used their martial arts (boxing, karate chopping and kicking him) until he was unconscious. The security forces then poured water over him until he awoke and they repeated the torture again and again. His family and MFI are extremely concerned for his welfare as he is still is prison.

This behavior by the Vietnamese authorities only makes our people believe the Vietnamese government hates the Degar people. It is also sad so many countries in this world reward Vietnam with aid and trade benefits which only signal to the Vietnamese government that they have a right to carry out genocide toward the Degar people.

We ask, what has the poorest of the poor, our indigenous tribal Degar people done to the Vietnamese government to make them treat us this way? All we are able to do is to pray so that our Almighty God will give us strength to endure and take the pain of a slow death. For the Bible said in the book of Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to revenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

THE MONTAGNARD FOUNDATION CALLS ON:

 Concerned Embassies, the Red Cross and the international community to urgently demand Vietnam to release Siu H’Thik and Y-Drin Nie, to ensure they get urgent medical attention; and to release all 350 Degar prisoners as identified in the Human Rights Watch report of 14 June 2006.
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/14/vietna13542.htm

 Concerned Embassies and the international community to pursue a permanent humanitarian presence in the Central Highlands by US, UN and international NGOs in order to address the underlying causes of the persecution of the indigenous Montagnard Degar peoples.

 The US State Department reconsider placing Vietnam back on the ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) watch list of nations which are the most egregious violators of religious freedom.