Author: Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation

Khmer Grammar Book Seized by Vietnamese Authorities and Prohibited from Distribution

According to a report by the Voice of Kampuchea Krom (VOKK)  on the 13-14th February 2014 a Khmer Grammar book that was published in Thailand and sent to Kampuchea Krom was seized by Vietnamese authorities and prohibited from distribution.

Entitled, “វេយ្យាករណ៍ខ្មែរសង្គ្រោះ” the Khmer Grammar book was originally written by Thach Ek in  Kompong Spean (rename Cau Ke) District, Preah Trapeang (renamed Tra Vinh) province and was printed and published by Venerable Thach Chan Dara, a Khmer Krom Buddhist monk studying in Thailand.

The book was sent to be distributed to Khmer Krom teachers and students as a reference guide to the Khmer language. Upon its arrival in Kampuchea-Krom on the 13th of February 2014, 10 police officers began to ask questions in regards to who created the book, published it and how was it sent over. Two books were given to the local Vietnamese authorities so the content of the book could to be examined. However,the Vietnamese authorities returned  the next day and confiscated all the books, stating that it was against the Vietnam law and that content of the book was not approved by the Vietnam Government and they were prohibited from distributing it.

“I have asked permission from the creator of this book to publish it because I thought it was important for our studies,” says Venerable Thach Chan Dara in the interview with VOKK.

Venerable Thach Chan Dara has expressed his concern over the confiscated books, stating that the book was about Khmer grammar and did not contain anything political content that would oppose the Vietnamese Government.

“There is nothing lawfully wrong about this book. It does not contain any political content, or go against the Vietnam government. It serves to promote and encourage students and teachers to read and learn more about our Khmer language,” Venerable Thach Chan Dara adds.

The creation and publication of Khmer books, history and culture continued to be closely monitored and prohibited by the Vietnamese Government. This example clearly shows that there are no Freedom of Press in Vietnam contrary to what what the Vietnamese government has stated in their recent Universal Period Review in Geneva on February 5th 2014.

Picture: Thach Chan Dara holds Khmer Grammar Book that was prohibited from being distributed in Vietnam

Source: http://vokk.net/?p=14852

 

Open Invitation to KKF 2013 Annual Conference

2013_Annual_Conference_Invitation

The Khmers Kampuchea Krom-Krom Federation extends cordial invitation to all community members to join us in our end-of-year conference for 2013 at Orlando Florida.

The conference will take place on December 14th to December 15th.
For more information and specific details on accommodation, please contact organizers at the following:

Dok Thach 407-591-0439 407-591-0439
Bot Thach 407-234-2320 407-234-2320
Kosol Chan 407-288-3367 407-288-3367
Giap Tran 856-655-3838 856-655-3838

 

Press Release: KKF Calls On International Pressure To End Religious Persecutions and Also The Unconditional Release of Human Rights Defenders

KKF Press Release 

To Whom It May Concern,

On behalf of the Khmer-Krom families in Soc Trang Province, we would like to urgently appeal and notify you of the unfair trials of two Khmer-Krom monks and six followers who face 10 months to 6 years for exercising their freedom of speech, opinion and association.

On the 25th of September, 2013 in Prey Chop Commune, Lai Hoa Village, Vinh Chau District, Soc Trang Province, four Khmer-Krom people were sentenced for up to a year for creating “Public Disorder”. Supporters of Thach Thuol on Trial

  1. Lam Thi Loan – Born 1957 – 1 year prison.
  2. Ly Thi Danh – Born 1970 – 1 year prison.
  3. Ly Minh Hai – Born 1978 – 11 months prison.
  4. Tang Phola – Born 1976 – 10 months prison Continue reading “Press Release: KKF Calls On International Pressure To End Religious Persecutions and Also The Unconditional Release of Human Rights Defenders”

Khmer Krom Imprisoned for Standing up for Venerable Ly Chanh Da

Vinh Chau, Soc Trang, 26th September 2013 – Four Khmer Krom people were trialed on 25th September 2013  have been handed a one year sentence for speaking up on behalf of Abbot Ly Chanh Da, who has fled to Thailand seeking asylum.

Khmer Krom from Prey Chop stands TrialScreenshot of Prey Chop Trial on 25th September 2013.

Accused of creating “Public disorder”, Lam Thi lon, Ly Thi Danh, Ly Minh Hai and Tang Pha Lan was simply exercising their right to speak  and standing up for what they thought was right  but have been instead treated as criminals.

The Khmer Krom people had no legal representation or lawyer present to represent their side of the story. Instead they were most likely to coerce into the submission of guilty plea deal as a means of getting a lighter sentence. 

One year may seem like a light and fair sentence based on the fact that the accused gave “honest confession, are of ethnic Khmer with low education, limited legal awareness”* but in actually fact is a heavy sentence for the four accused.

One year in prison means a year of isolation and torture for “beating a drum to alert local villagers that Vietnam authorities were defrocking one of the monks at Prey Chop temple”. Instead of being called to the police station and given a warning and or fine, the individuals were arrested and imprisoned, given an unfair trial and sentenced to one year.

News from the Villagers from Prey Chop revealed sixteen others have been fined $60 for participating in the so called” Public Disorder” incident.

According to inside news from Ta Sek temple, a lawyer hired by the family of one of the accused was told via a Vietnamese police officer that the Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich, and Thach Tha refused to use the lawyer.The lawyer did not even have a chance to see or speaker directly with the accused.

It is yet another example of a legal system that remains unfair and discriminates against the Khmer Krom. The charge of “Public Disorder” remains a powerful tool in which Vietnam authorities use for political prosecution and silencing of dissents.

PLEASE COME BACK FOR MORE UPDATES ON TOMORROW TA SET TRIAL.

 

KKF Urgent Appeals – September 24, 2013

Pennsauken, 24 September 2013– On behalf of the Khmer- Krom families in Prey Chop, we would like to urgently appeal and notify you of the upcoming trial of 4 Khmer-Krom people who have been arrested, tortured and imprisoned for allegedly creating “public disorder” during the incident of Venerable Ly Chanh Da’s defrocking on 16th May 2013.

Family members were notified that the following members; Lam Thi lon, Ly Thi Danh, Ly Minh Hai and Tang Pha Lan will be placed on trial on September 25th 2013 at Toà Án Nhân Dân Thị Xã Vĩnh Châu, Tỉnh Sóc Trăng.

We are concern about the lack of transparency and fairness of this trial. They were given insignificant time to find a lawyer and the accused have been found guilty even before the trial even happened.

The four victims are imprisoned because they exercised their freedom of speech and spoke up about the injustice of what the Vietnam authority was doing to Venerable Ly Chanh Da.  Venerable Ly Chanh Da have fled to Thailand seeking asylum but those who stayed like the four victims will be sentenced for a crime they did not commit.

On behalf of these voiceless victims, we urgently need for your assistance to:

  • Ask Vietnam to immediately release all 4 victims without trial
  • Request that Vietnam provide a lawyer for the accused so that they are represented in fairness and justice.
  • Remind Vietnam that freedom of speech is a right for all, not just for Vietnamese people.
  • Urge all Foreign Embassies to send a representative to the trial to observe the proceedings

Continue reading “KKF Urgent Appeals – September 24, 2013”

Vietnamese Authorities To Transfer and Trial 3 Venerable and Supporters In Religious Persecution Case

Pennsauken, 20 September 2013 – The Vietnamese authority will take Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich, and Thach Tha from Tra Set Temple, Vinh Hai Commune, Vinh Chau District, Soc Trang Province to face the trial in Soc Trang province on September 27, 2013. The trial will begin from 7am at: “Toà Án Nhân Dân Tỉnh Sóc Trăng (Đ/c: Số 1, Đường 30/4, Phường 2, Thành Phố Sóc Trăng, Tỉnh Sóc Trăng)”

Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich, and Thach Tha have been arrested since May 20, 2013. The Vietnamese authority just notified their family this week, giving them insignificant time to find a lawyer to represent the accused. It seems that Vietnamese government has decided to provide a trial just to sentence and punish them.

According to the summoned letters that Vietnamese authority asked the Khmer-Krom to attend the trial, it states that “Venerable Thach Thuol and his accomplices” will be trialed for the alleged crimes of: “fleeing abroad to against the Vietnamese government” and “organizing for other people to fleeing abroad”.

Since 2012, the Vietnamese authority threatened to arrest Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol for many times. Two days before they were arrested, they made video testimony appealing to the world to help protect them. The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation has included their video clip in this documentary video:

[youtube]3ZMef1nAtGQ[/youtube]

If Vietnamese authority did not try to arrest and defrock Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol, they would not leave their beloved temple. As they said in their appeal video clip, they were just Buddhist monks practicing their peaceful religion. Because they could not practice their religion in peace in their temple, they tried to escape to Cambodia but
were arrested with their two Khmer-Krom youth students: Thach Phum Rich and Thach Tha.

In this regard, we urgently would like to ask for your support to:

  • Ask Vietnam to provide a transparent trial that is free and fair so they could be released because they did not commit any crimes.
  • Urge Vietnam to provide Lawyers to help represent Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich and Thach Tha at the court.
  • Urge Vietnam to allow Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich, and Thach Tha to defend for themselves by speaking if they don’t have lawyers.
  • Urge the foreign embassies in Vietnam to send their representatives to attend the trial

Khmer-Krom Prisoners of Conscience

Since May 20, 2013, Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich, and Thach Tha from Tra Set Temple, Vinh Hai Commune, Vinh Chau District, Soc Trang Province have been arrested, their whereabouts are still unknown.

It has been three months already since Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich, and Thach Tha were arrested and the Vietnamese authority still does not bring them to court. It shows that the Vietnamese authority could not find any evidents to sentence them and hopefully does not torture them to confess the crimes that they do not commit.

In reality, Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol do not violate any law or Buddhist rules as they appealed before their arrested in this Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZMef1nAtGQ

As of this time, the Vietnamese authority still does not allow their family members to visit or tell their family members their whereabouts.

If Vietnam is a country that respects religious freedom and the human rights treaties that Vietnam ratified, then Vietnam must release them without any condition. Vietnam must not use torture against them. If something happens to Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich, the Leaders of Vietnam must be fully responsible for it.