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Human Rights Monitor

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:

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
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