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PRAYING IS A CRIME IN VIETNAM

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On November 11, 2010 hundreds of security police violently attack a Catholic prayer service of 100 Degar Christians at Ploi Kret Krot village, Hra commune, Mang Yang district, at PleiKu city, Gia Lai province, Vietnam. These Degar Catholics had gathered for an open prayer service when security forces arrived telling them to leave. The Christians told the police they were not doing any crime and the police responded by confiscating and destroying their religious artifacts and including crosses and pictures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. Some of the worshippers spoke up stated that they did not do anything wrong, others pleaded that they should have the right to choose their own faith and where to practice their beliefs.
Security forces then attacked the defenseless worshipers by beating them with electric prods, batons, kicking, stomping them, including women, elderly and even children. Many worshipers ran away and witnesses who escaped reported to us that many were severely beaten and tortured by security police. Their names and descriptions of 22 of the victims we have so far are and one elderly man aged 50 who was beaten unconscious is having difficulties walking.
9 Beaten Unconscious – 22 Victims in total

1. A Kat, age 45, suffered head and internal injuries as security forces beat him unconscious with three head strikes by batons. While unconscious they kicked him on his abdomen four times.
2. A cuun, age 27, was struck two times on his back and two blows on his head with police batons. He fell unconscious and security forces continued kicking and stomping on his body and stomach.
3. A Li, age 31, was struck four times on the head and was unconscious for over an hour. While unconscious on the ground he was kicked on his abdomen two times.
4. A Cur, age 43, suffered five blows to his head and fell to the ground unconscious where security forces repeatedly kicked him at least seven more times. He remained unconscious for over an hour.
5. A Liu, age 24, suffered three blows to his head and two blows to his back and fell to the ground unconscious where security forces continued kicking and stomping on him. Witnesses saw him covered in blood.
6. A Sung, age 24, suffered two blows to his head and fell to the ground where security forces continued to beat him until he became unconscious. He remained unconscious for over an hour.
7. A Bom, age 50. Security force struck him on his head until he collapsed unconscious. He was then kicked at least five times and at this time he is unable to walk and may be crippled.
8. A Hlai, age 60, incurred three blows to his head and was kicked numerous times to his stomach while unconscious. He was unconscious for over an hour.
9. A Khin, age 46, incurred four blows to his head and kicked and beaten all over his body until he became unconscious.
10. A Wung, age 29, was struck twice on his back with batons but was able to flee into the forest.
11. A Sinh, age 27, was beaten with a baton on his back twice and two times to his shoulders. He was able to flee into the forest.
12. A Yil, age 30, was struck on his back with batons but was able to flee into the forest.
13. A Gyun, age 28 was struck on his thigh with police baton but was able to flee into the forest.
14. A Raih, age 26, was struck with a baton on his back two times and he was able to flee to the forest.
15. A Do, age 30, was struck twice on his back with a baton but was able to escape to the forest.
16. A Kinh, age 31, incurred two blows to his back with batons but was able to escape to the forest.
17. A Bop, age 35, incurred two blows to his back and was able to escape to the forest.
18. A Ngo, age 24, was struck two times on his thighs and was able to escape to the forest.
19. A Mun, age 22 was struck twice on his back but was able to flee to the forest.
20. A Wung, age 17, suffered two blows to his back but was able to escape to the forest.
21. A Yim, age 16, incurred two blows to his shoulder but was able to escape to the forest.
22. A Blun, age 28, received two blows to his back but was able to escape to the forest.

Security Forces Hunting those who Escaped
At the time we received this report, those injured who were able to escape have gone into hiding. Security forces are searching for them patrolling the village where the prayer service occurred (Ploi Kret Krot village) preventing villagers from leaving their homes. Similar incidents happened in two other villages (Ploi Kuk Kong and Ploi Kuk Dak, commune of An-Thanh, district of Dak Bo, of Plei Ku city in the province of Gia Lai) where security forces have impeded worship services and many Degar Christians were injured with batons and rifle stocks of the security forces. Security forces have also threatened the villagers with arrest if they report the incident to anyone overseas.

The Montagnard Foundation calls on the international community to do everything in their power to bring Vietnam to prevent security forces from retaliating against these Christians and to undertake dialogue in resolving the issue of our people. We also ask that the hundreds of other Degar religious prisoners be released from prison.

The Montagnard Foundation reiterates clearly that our goal is to peacefully co-exist in Vietnam as equal citizens with our human rights, indigenous rights and religious rights being protected.