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Arrests at self-immolating woman's memorial

Family, friends and a priest taken for questioning

  • Asia Desk, Bangkok
  • Vietnam
  • September 17, 2012
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Police briefly arrested and held family and friends attending an event yesterday to mark the death of Dang Thi Kim Lieng, the mother of a detained Christian blogger, who set herself on fire in late July.

Two plainclothes security officials bundled another of Lieng’s daughters, Ta Khoi Phung, and five friends into a car following the ceremony to mark 49 days since her death at her family’s home in the southern city of Bac Lieu, said Phung.

They were then taken to a police station where officers questioned them separately for four hours about a road accident and accused them of taking pictures of a government building before their release at 7pm yesterday evening.

“They arrested us as if we were criminals,” said Phung.

Police also briefly confiscated her cell phone, she added.

Among those questioned were Redemptorist Father Anthony Le Ngoc Thanh and Duong Thi Tan, a former blogger who was previously detained.

Lieng’s daughter Marie Ta Phong Tan is due to go on trial on September 24 for offences including threatening state security.

“Our family members will attend the trial,” said Phung.

Their brother Ta Minh Tu said all members of his family are seen as “reactionaries” and have been “isolated” since his mother’s self-immolation on July 30.

Neighbors do not dare to have any contact with them over fears that they too will be persecuted by state officials, he added.

Tu accused Major-General Do Viet Thang, director of Bac Lieu’s Public Security Department, of leading a harassment campaign against his family.

Related reports

Officials restrict funeral after self-immolation
Christian activist's mother sets herself ablaze
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