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Vietnam releases Christians, asks to abandon faith  

The Christians were also asked not to be part of days marking international human rights and victims of violence
Dalit community leader Jignesh Mevani (center) at a rally in Gujarat on April 14, 2016, to protest against the flogging of Dalit youths for skinning dead cattle in Una village.

Protestants in Vietnam’s Central Highlands protest against the suppression of religious freedom. (Photo: Montagnards for Justice via RFA)

Published: November 07, 2023 11:40 AM GMT
Updated: November 07, 2023 12:15 PM GMT

Four Protestant Christians, who were arrested last week in Vietnam, have been released with an instruction to stop practicing their faith independently, said a report.

Y Nuer Buon Dap, Y Thinh Nie, Y Cung Nie and his son Y Salemon Eban returned home on Nov. 4, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

The first three were arrested on Oct. 31, but Y Phuc Nie was released on Nov. 2. They were taken to Cu M'gar District’s Police headquarters.

Another man, Y Salemon Eban was arrested on Nov. 3 after police interrogated his mother on Nov. 2.

The police told them to stop practicing their faith independently and not to study civil society, saying it aimed to oppose the government, the report said.

Many Montagnard families in Dak Lak and some provinces in the Central Highlands follow Protestantism but are independent as they are not part of state-approved religious organizations.

Police made them work all day, some 16 hours from 7:30 a.m., but they were not beaten. They were also well fed, RFA reported quoting one of the arrested persons, who sought to remain anonymous for legal reasons.

The police also questioned them about their views on religious freedom and civil society, he said.

They were also warned against participating in the Aug. 22 International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief and the Dec. 10 International Human Rights Day.

The independent Protestant groups have no leaders and no organizational structure, but all members have equal rights. Pastors are just trusted representatives of their group, said the report.

Since early this year, some of these groups have sent at least four invitations to local authorities and President Vo Van Thuong to attend their religious activities to prove that they are not against state-approved religions or the government, the report said.

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