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Jailed ailing Vietnam pastor deprived of care

Government critics say refusal to allow medical treatment is 'revenge' for his rights activism
Jailed ailing Vietnam pastor deprived of care

Jailed Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton's wife Nguyen Thi Lanh (left) receives visitors at her home in Thanh Hoa province in September. (Photo courtesy of Nguyen Thuy Hanh's Facebook page)

Published: October 25, 2018 05:10 AM GMT
Updated: October 25, 2018 05:14 AM GMT

A seriously ill Protestant pastor imprisoned in Vietnam has been denied hospital treatment or medicine from his family, according to rights campaigners.

Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, 46, hardly moves in his cell because old leg wounds have flared up, states a report compiled by nation's Brotherhood for Democracy.

Pastor Ton, who has campaigned for democratic rights as well as on issues such as land grabbing and pollution, suffered torn ligaments from a brutal attack by a group of unidentified men in February 2017.

He and others were at the time traveling to central Quang Binh province to visit family tombs.

The pastor is serving a 12-year prison term at Gia Trung Prison Camp in Vietnam's Central Highlands after being convicted of attempting to overthrow the communist government.

Brotherhood for Democracy stated that Pastor Ton told his wife, Nguyen Thi Lanh, on Oct. 22 that he is suffering from renal failure, a bacterial infection and sleeplessness. "His health is rapidly deteriorating due to being kept in bad conditions," the report said.

The pastor, a former president of the Brotherhood for Democracy, said prison officials had not allowed doctors to treat him in the prison or for him to be hospitalized.

The pastor wrote to prison officials seeking permission for his family to be allowed to pay for hospital treatment, but he had no reply, the rights group report said.

It added that the prison also returned medicine sent by his family, who live at Quang Yen Commune in the northern province of Thanh Hoa.

A further allegation was that authorities warned his wife, who works on a farm to support her family including one child who requires monthly hospital care, not to travel from her home without government approval.

The rights group described the government's treatment of Pastor Ton as "revenge" for his public expressions of dissent.

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