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Every time my arms got tired and I tried to lower them, the policeman would say, "Okay-you want to be beaten up? I haven't heard you tell me who the true Jesus is."

-Jarai man from Kontum, October 2001

Beginning in March 2001, Vietnamese authorities launched a second wave of arrests and increased the pressure on suspected sympathizers of the movement. Their actions were based on information gathered from police interrogation sessions conducted in February, as well as photographs and video footage of the demonstrations. On March 10, police arrested more than twenty ethnic Jarai in Chu Se district, Gia Lai after a confrontation between villagers and security forces at Plei Lao.312 On March 26, the state newspaper Lao Dong (Labor) reported that provincial authorities in Kontum had uncovered an underground separatist network, consisting of a "string of clandestine bases each several people strong." Some forty ethnic minority "troublemakers" had surrendered to local authorities, the paper said, and documents confiscated from the group had enabled local authorities to compile a "blacklist" of the leaders of the underground network.313

Police were deployed in many villages, often posted in individual homes, and additional military reinforcements were posted at local commune headquarters throughout the next twelve months. In addition to "public works" projects-helping families plant gardens and assisting in village cleanup programs-the main role of the security forces was to monitor suspected leaders of the demonstrations, thwart escapes to Cambodia, and guard against any other outbursts of unrest. In mid-March, party authorities sent more than 500 troops to Kontum and convened a two-day "awareness" seminar for border guards in Kontum.314

In April 2001, the Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army Daily) announced that thirteen military regiments-expected to be on alert should a "bad situation occur"-were to be settled in an "economic defense zone" in Dak Lak and neighboring Binh Phuoc province, which has a sizable population of Mnong and Stieng Christians.315

In July 2001, Vietnam's public security minister announced plans to send additional police to Kontum in order to address "problems at grassroots level" and prevent "sudden situations and hot spots in rural areas."316

Travel Restrictions and Increased Surveillance

After the demonstrations and refugee exodus to Cambodia, the government began to tightly restrict freedom of movement throughout the Central Highlands. Montagnards arriving at the UNHCR sites in Cambodia reported that strict travel bans had been instituted throughout the highlands with police posted on the roads to stop movement of people and in the hamlets to prevent travel and communication between villages.317 Highlanders interviewed by Human Rights Watch reported stricter implementation of household registry regulations. In the wake of the protests, authorities required highlanders to register with the police several days in advance of leaving their homes to work in their fields or to visit another village or district.318 In many areas, only women were allowed to freely leave the villages.

Christian pastors and evangelists were barred from traveling in many localities, making it impossible for them to perform baptisms, marriages, and funerals as they had in the past.319 Police wrote up charges and often imposed fines on pastors who were caught performing such ceremonies.

Areas from which large numbers of people had attempted to flee to Cambodia faced particularly heavy surveillance and extra travel restrictions. These included Ea Sup, Ea H'leo, and Ban Don districts of Dak Lak, as well as some districts in Gia Lai, such as Ia Grai and Mang Yang.320

An Ede woman from Ban Don district, Dak Lak said that police threatened her with arrest after her husband fled to Cambodia:

They questioned me several times and then took me to the district on March 10. They asked me what my problem was and why I had gone to the demonstration. They said, `We don't see your husband any more-we're going to put you on jail.' As soon as I could, I escaped to Cambodia.321

"My family is watched and followed everywhere," said a Jarai who fled from Ia Grai district, Gia Lai in February. "They are not allowed to travel outside the village. Letters to my family are opened and read."322

In one hamlet in Ban Don district of Dak Lak, Human Rights Watch received reports that security police recruited some villagers to report on anyone who attended Christian meetings and even those who conducted family prayers in their own homes. Advance permission was required in order for people to leave the village to work in their fields. Highlander children in that hamlet were reportedly prohibited from attending school unless their families denounced Christianity.323

In Ea Sup district of Dak Lak, party cadres and police continued to reside in individual homes for months after the demonstrations. In June 2001 most of the security forces moved out of the villagers' houses but remained camped nearby. They continued to enter peoples' homes without notice, especially those of families with members who were in prison or who had fled to Cambodia. Guests in these homes were monitored and family members wanting to leave the village to go to their fields were required to report their exact hours of departure and return. If they were late coming home they were questioned at length and not permitted to leave the village.324

Pressure was exerted on suspected MFI supporters in Lam Dong province as well. In April 2001 authorities tried to force one of the leaders of the land rights movement in Lam Dong to make a public pledge to abandon the movement:

The police pressured me to make a public pronouncement but I refused. Instead in front of my whole village, I said I would continue my work. A high-ranking police official from the province then entered my house. He tried to offer me money and his hand. I refused to take either. I said I would not abandon the movement-I want freedom for the ethnic minorities, the same as for the Vietnamese. The police saw that I wasn't going to stop the work and sent many police to monitor me. Some were armed. If I didn't agree to stop, they said they would kill me secretly. In May I escaped for my life.325

Restrictions on Diplomatic and Media Access

During and after the demonstrations, foreign journalists were denied access to the Central Highlands, other than a tightly-controlled press tour in mid-March 2001 and another timed to coincide with the first repatriation of refugees in February 2002.

Diplomatic access was also restricted, although representatives of the Danish Embassy flew to Dak Lak in early February 2001 as part of a pre-arranged trip to visit aid projects there. Other European diplomats based in Hanoi were able to briefly visit Gia Lai as part of a four-day tour to five provinces and Ho Chi Minh City conducted at the end of May 2001. However a request by the U.S. ambassador in March to visit the highlands was not granted until July 2001.326

In the first days after the protests, police instructed hotels in the region not to accept tourists for at least two weeks following the demonstrations, and the region's main tourist attraction, Yok Don National Park, was temporarily closed.

International aid agencies working in the Central Highlands, such as the British volunteer organization, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), the Danish Red Cross, and Germany's development organization Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), continued their work as usual, although they reported that local authorities had told them not to venture out to the districts at night.327

There was no mention in the state-controlled media about the unrest for several days following the protests. One February 7, the lead story on state television was a piece praising economic development policies in the Central Highlands. It featured footage of beaming minorities working in coffee plantations in Gia Lai.328 Such coverage was to continue for months.

The first official mention in the Vietnamese press about the demonstrations ran on February 8. A report by the Vietnam News Agency, which was carried in Quan Doi Nhan Dan (The People's Army Daily), the English-language Vietnam News, and on national television, acknowledged that protests had occurred in Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot. The reports attributed the unrest to the work of "bad elements" and "extremists," but said the situation had been brought under control.329 The same day a Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman told foreign journalists in a press conference that twenty people had been arrested in Gia Lai for "provocative acts." She attributed the Buon Ma Thuot demonstrations to local people receiving "bad information" about the events in Pleiku.330

On March 15, Quan Doi Nhan Dan ran a long piece featuring biographies and interviews with several Kok Ksor supporters, including Bom Jana, whom the newspaper described as "appearing in an exhausted condition and with a monotonous and regretful voice."331 Jana was quoted as saying:

Please allow me to apologize to the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam and please give me leniency so that I can soon be back to my family. I call on my 'brothers' who had listened to me to join this organization. Please come to surrender to the administration and enjoy the leniency of the government.332

Also interviewed was Ksor Kroih, who had been arrested on February 6:

The more I think about it, the more I see that what Ksor Kok told us was just distorted propaganda. Before the liberation, we ethnic minority communities lived in poverty: no schools, backward social life, and no medicine when we fell sick. Since the country was liberated, the government built roads, schools and markets.

The government has policies to eradicate hunger and alleviate poverty and to encourage the community activity. Our children can go to school without having to pay school fees. Our people do not have to pay for hospitals when they get sick. Our livelihoods have been on the rise. In February, I participated in enticing the people to join demonstrations and threw rocks. Mr. Kok promised that if we were arrested, he would arrange our release. Now I regret for what I have done. I beg the administration to consider with leniency for my wrongdoing.333

On March 16, 2001, after several delays, the Hanoi-based foreign press corps was taken on a four-day guided tour of Dak Lak and Gia Lai. Reporters were not granted promised interviews with highlanders who had participated in the demonstrations but instead were taken to a coffee factory, a highlander cultural show, Yak Don National Park, and an ethnic Lao village where no one had participated in the protests.334 In Pleiku the journalists were brought to a large stadium to witness a Vietnamese military parade in commemoration of the twenty-sixth anniversary of Pleiku's liberation, a ceremony that is not usually observed in Pleiku.335

In Pleiku, Provincial People's Committee chairman Nguyen Vy Ha told the journalists that the demonstrations were caused by misinformation and agitation by outside "reactionaries."

"Religion had no connection with what happened, but a group has abused religion to agitate people," he said. Ha said that minority people had heard rumors that they would receive land, houses and money if they marched on the provincial capital.336

It was not until late March 2001 that the first video footage of the demonstrations appeared on Vietnam Television (VTV), the state-controlled national television network. A two-part series on March 27-28 showed large crowds standing in front of the Provincial People's Committee buildings in Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot, with fleeting glimpses of young men using slingshots in Buon Ma Thuot. The fifteen-minute program featured interviews with four protesters and Kok Ksor's brother, all expressing contrition for their involvement with Kok Ksor, and an interview in a Buon Ma Thuot church with one of the minority pastors who had addressed the crowd in Buon Ma Thuot at the government's request. The VTV narrator said: "Life has returned to normal in the Central Highlands, but the situation remains complicated...It's necessary to expose the wicked schemes of hostile forces in exile headed by Kok Ksor, aimed at sowing divisions in national unity." 337

Intensified Repression of Christians

Those suspected of being "Dega Christians" faced ongoing persecution. Special ceremonies were conducted to extract loyalty oaths from people who had attended the demonstrations (See Case Study XVI, "The Goat's Blood Oath Ceremonies in Ea H'leo," p. 163.)

In addition, officials convened public meetings, which were videotaped and photographed, at which church elders were publicly harangued in front of banners reading: "The party punishes the gang which committed the grievous crime of being Dega Christians."338 Places in Dak Lak where such religious denunciation sessions took place included Buon Nieng, Buon Cuor Knia, Buon Ko Dung, Buon Tong Yu, and Buon Dha Prong.339

In some cases the penalties imposed on Christians who refused to denounce their religion were an attempt to humiliate. In one incident in March 2001, police in Kontum forced a Jarai Christian to stand with his hands raised above his head for an entire morning. They had summoned him to the police station for several days in a row to press him to sign a pledge renouncing Christianity. When he continued to refuse to sign, the police made him stand with his hands raised from 8:15 a.m. until noon. He was ordered to stand looking into the eyes of a picture of Ho Chi Minh in order to "see the real Jesus." Afterwards the man was allowed to go home, despite not signing the pledge. He described the sessions:

Every time my arms got tired and I tried to lower them, the policeman would say, `Okay-you want to be beaten up? I haven't heard you tell me who the true Jesus is.'340

Other actions taken by Vietnamese authorities to break up religious gatherings or close Protestant churches included the following:

· An official citation prepared in Dak Lak on March 18, 2001 recorded the "illegal meeting to engage in Protestant religious activities," when a group of fifty-six people from two hamlets gathered to pray at a private home.341 A similar citation prepared by commune police in Dak Lak documented an illegal, "large meeting" on April 15, when fifteen people gathered at a private home. The citation referred to Vietnam's 1999 Religion Decree and Vietnam's Constitution and warned the homeowner that if he continued to hold illegal meetings he would be punished in accordance with the law. It stated that advance government permission was required in order to conduct any meetings.342

· On April 6, 2001, a village chief in Dak Lak signed a memorandum documenting "the discovery of 115 people, eight small Bibles, and two large Bibles" at an "illegal" religious gathering. According to the official citation, the meeting was shut down, the Bibles confiscated, and the church leader ordered to report for questioning at the Village People's Committee at a later date: "We advised [name withheld] that he could not hold meetings to propagate religion at that time since local authorities have not given permission....The report was completed on the same day and read aloud to [name withheld] and the entire group [of worshippers] present that day."343

· In late April 2001, district authorities in Dak Lak forced the closure of a communal Christian meeting place used by a number of villages in Cu Mgar district. 344

· In August 2001, policemen in Sa Thay district, Kontum detained and interrogated a Montagnard church leader at gunpoint. They turned him over to provincial police, who tortured him with electric shocks during interrogation.345

· Minority Protestants told Western reporters in February 2002 that there were only two officially recognized Christian pastors for all of Gia Lai province, the building of new churches was forbidden, and that church services outside of the home-and particularly the practice of "Dega Protestantism"-were forbidden.346

Reports were received of interrogation and threats of church leaders in Buon Drie, Buon Ea Mohar, Buon Ko Dung, and Buon Nieng in Dak Lak. After a number of church elders from Buon Mohar filed a complaint to the Provincial Bureau of Religious Affairs and the Provincial Security Police, the pressure on them lightened somewhat.347

In July 2001, police began summoning one church leader in Buon Don district on a daily basis for weeks in order to conduct intensive interrogations. He was asked who the leaders of the local church were, why he was teaching religion when he was not a pastor, and why he traveled to other hamlets. In fact, he did so to perform funerals and other religious ceremonies. He was forced to sign a document stating that he was guilty of eight crimes, including not having an advanced degree, not having studied in any Bible classes, lacking official permission from local government to carry out religious activities, and conducting religious activities in his home and not in the church. The man who was interrogated submitted a complaint to local authorities in which he stated:

[The police chief] was ready to beat me, but he didn't do it. He told me he would smash my mouth, cut open my head. He said he would keep me coming back for questioning for six months, and [asked me] who would work my fields during that time. He said he'd put me in jail, because my eight crimes really merited execution.348

Official police records and citizen complaint petitions obtained by Human Rights Watch document other instances of official pressure on whole villages or large groups of people to renounce Christianity. On August 24, 2001, police and village officials disrupted a church service in Buon Don district, photographing the church and the people inside. The officials organized a meeting to order the community to renounce Protestantism. They placed the entire village under surveillance and searched the homes of suspected Christians. A citizen complaint about the incident stated:

They pressure us to renounce our religion and sent irregular forces to search the homes of believers one by one. They follow us everywhere we go. They know the places where we pray and report them to their superiors. The authorities arrested five believers and forced them to do self criticisms; they accuse that we are believers of the crime of illegal proselytization.349

In August 2001, twenty households comprising eighty-nine people in two villages in Dak Lak were forced to sign a pledge to the village People's Committee that they would cease being Protestants or face legal action. A written police decision dated August 27, signed by the village police chief, ordered all households to turn in all Protestant religious materials in the two villages.350

In some areas minority Christians reported increased use of economic pressure against them after the protests, for example, by being excluded from government food distribution programs. This occurred reportedly not only in Gia Lai, but also in Christian minority areas in neighboring Quang Nai and Phu Yen provinces.351 Minority Christians in Minh Long district in Quang Nai and in Son Hinh and Son Nga districts in Phu Yen reported being systematically excluded from government distribution of relief funds, rice, oil and salt.352

In August 2001 in Phu Yen province, minority church members filed a petition with the provincial Bureau of Religious Affairs to protest discriminatory treatment of minority Christians. A drought and failed harvest had caused eleven Christian families to face particular hardship but they were all rejected for government assistance that had been provided to non-Christians in the same village. The petitioners wrote:

The officials in [name of commune withheld] say: these Protestants are the most stubborn people of all and that Protestantism is an American religion that opposes the programs of the country. In truth, we have done nothing to oppose the government, and we are not stubborn either. The real reason [we were refused drought relief] is that the village authorities do everything they can to make us renounce our religion, and when we refuse, they say all sorts of bad things about us.353

The Trials

Soon after the February protests, it was clear that harsh penalties would be imposed against those found to have organized the demonstrations. An indicator came in March 2001 in the VCP daily, Nhan Dan (The People), which published sections of the penal code dealing with inciting riots and endangering national security and stated that the law called for strict criminal penalties.354

In April, the government's Tin Tuc news agency announced that eleven "troublemakers" would be prosecuted in Dak Lak province. Provincial VCP official Y Luyen Niec Dan was quoted as saying that strong measures needed to be taken against people exploiting Protestantism to "bend the truth and sabotage the revolution." "We have to unmask the local and international reactionaries who have created this bad situation...and at the same time practice clemency towards all those who have strayed and repented," he said.355

In June 2001, the official government legal newspaper, Phap Luat (The Law) stated that forty-one people would be tried in Gia Lai province. Seven people had been charged with "damaging national security," twenty with "opposing public officials," and fourteen with "disturbing public order." A court official interviewed by the Associated Press said that defendants had been involved in two rounds of unrest-in Pleiku on February 2 and in Chu Se district on March 10. The official said that the defendants had admitted to receiving instructions from "overseas counterrevolutionary elements" to incite unrest.356

Between September 2001 and January 2002, at least thirty-five highlanders were sentenced in a number of trials quietly conducted in Dak Lak and Gia Lai provinces.

· On September 26, 2001, the People's Courts in Dak Lak and Gia Lai sentenced fourteen highlanders to prison sentences ranging from six to twelve years on charges of undermining public security (most likely under article 89 of the Penal Code.)357 According to the official state press, the men were accused of forming a "reactionary organization" in order to establish an independent state and a separate religion in the Central Highlands. One defendant was also charged with illegal possession of military weapons. State media said that Nay D'Ruk (Y Drut Nie) and Y Phen Ksor from Ea H'leo had raided local government offices and destroyed public property.358 In addition, Bom Jena-identified as the "mastermind" of the unrest-was found to have chaired a founding ceremony of an "illegal organization" at co-defendant Ksor Kroih's house in September 2000.359

· On October 18, 2001, six highlanders were convicted in courts in Ea H'leo, Ea Sup and Krong Pak districts of Dak Lak, on charges of distributing propaganda and inciting social unrest in Buon Ma Thuot in February 2001. They were given from three years suspended sentences to five years of imprisonment.360

· Also in October, four highlanders were sentenced in Ayun Pa district court in Gia Lai to sentences ranging from five to eight years imprisonment. A district official told the Associated Press that the four had detained and beaten the deputy police chief and his nephew on February 4, after the latter barred villagers from attending the demonstrations in Pleiku on February 2.361

· Two highlanders from Ia Grai district of Gia Lai were reportedly tried in October, sentenced to prison terms of four and five years respectively.362

· On November 19, 2001, five highlanders from Ea Sup district of Dak Lak were reportedly tried and sentenced to between five and seven years of imprisonment.

· On January 25, 2002, four highlanders in Chu Se district, Gia Lai, were sentenced to prison terms of up to six and a half years for "organizing illegal migrations." The official Vietnamese News Agency reported that Cambodian officials arrested and deported the four men in April and May 2001, along with groups of highlanders who had fled to Cambodia.363

None of the trial dates were announced in advance, and no diplomats or foreign correspondents were allowed to attend. It is doubtful that the defendants were allowed access to any legal representation, which is in contravention of article 132 of the Vietnamese constitution.364 The only official press coverage, if any, was the announcements of the verdicts after the trials were over. After the September 26 trial in Dak Lak, the government radio station stated that all the people present at the trial and in Dak Lak province supported the sentences: "The trial has not only punished the criminals but also educated the entire society."365

Vietnam's Penal Code, as amended in 1999, lists numerous "crimes against national security," some of which contain provisions, which are contrary to international law or are so vaguely worded that they invite abusive application.366 For example, article 88, "Conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," criminalizes the mere act of expressing a disfavored political opinion, or possessing or circulating material that does the same. It carries sentences of between three and twenty years of imprisonment. Article 87, "Undermining the unity policy," criminalizes "sowing divisions" between the people and the government or the military, between religious and non-religious people, and between religious followers and the government. Offenders are to be sentenced to between two and fifteen years of imprisonment.

One national security offense that is regularly lodged against peaceful critics of the party and government is article 79, "Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration;" punishment for this offense can include the death penalty. Among the actions that have triggered prosecutions under this provision are issuing manifestos or newsletters promoting peaceful political reforms and respect for human rights.367

In addition, as the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention noted in its 1995 report on Vietnam, the Penal Code's characterizations of national security crimes does not distinguish between the use or nonuse of violence or of incitement or nonincitement to violence. This means that penalties can be imposed on persons who have merely exercised peacefully their legitimate rights to freedom of opinion or expression.368

312 See Case Study XV, "The Church Burning and Killing by Security Forces in Plei Lao," p. 150.

313 Agence France-Presse, "Vietnam says it has dismantled separatist network," March 26, 2001.

314 Agence France-Presse, "Vietnam arranges meeting to build `awareness' among minorities," March 29, 2001.

315 The plan called for the resettlement of close to 100,000 soldiers, militia and their families, who would clear up to 230,000 hectares of land to plant rubber, cashews, cotton, coffee and pepper. Cited in Agence France Presse, "Vietnam settling soldiers, militiamen in restive Central Highlands," April 27, 2001.

316 Reuters, "Vietnam to Send Extra Police to Troubled Highlands," July 17, 2001.

317 Seth Meixner, "Montagnard Numbers Rise In Mondolkiri," Cambodia Daily, May 22, 2001.

318 In Vietnam, inscription on a household registry document (ho khau) is essential not only to legally reside in one's home, but to legally hold a job, collect grain rations, attend public school, receive public health care (which includes all forms of hospitalization), travel, vote, or formally challenge administrative abuses.

319 "Report on the Situation of Christian Believers in Dak Lak Province," July 2001, written by a Protestant church leader in the Central Highlands who asked to remain anonymous. English translation of Vietnamese language document on file at Human Rights Watch.

320 "Report on the Protestants' Situation in Dak Lak Province," September 3, 2001, written by a Protestant church leader in the Central Highlands who asked to remain anonymous.

321 Human Rights Watch interview with Ede woman from Dak Lak, July 13, 2001.

322 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Ia Grai, Gia Lai, August 8, 2001.

323 "Report on the Situation of Christian Believers in Dak Lak Province," July 2001, written by a Protestant church leader in the Central Highlands who asked to remain anonymous. Translation of Vietnamese-language document on file at Human Rights Watch.

324 Ibid.

325 Human Rights Watch interview with Montagnard from Lam Dong, October 30, 2001.

326 Associated Press, "U.S. Urges Vietnam to Grant Access to Central Highlands," March 24, 2001. VNA, Diplomats Make Fact-finding Tour of Viet Nam," May 31, 2001. Reuters, "U.S. ambassador to visit troubled Vietnam highlands," July 3, 2001. Reuters, "U.S. Envoy says obstructed in Vietnam highland tour," July 11, 2001.

327 Deutsche Presse-Agentur, "Expats stay put in Vietnam's highlands despite unrest," February 12, 2001.

328 Agence France-Presse, "Vietnam closes off strife-torn highlands as it sends in the army," February 8, 2001.

329 Reuters, "Vietnam media acknowledges widespread unrest," February 8, 2001.

330 Agence France-Presse, "Vietnam Admits to More Unrest Among Minorities in Highlands," New York Times, February 9, 2001.

331 Quan Doi Nhan Dan, Hanoi (People's Army Daily), March 15, 2001, translated by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, March 23, 2001.

332 Ibid.

333 Ibid.

334 Human Rights Watch telephone interviews with Hanoi-based western journalists, June 2001. David Brunnstrom, "Officials differ over religion in Vietnam unrest," Reuters, March 16, 2001.

335 David Brunnstrom, "Media access limited in troubled Vietnam highlands," Reuters, March 16, 2001. Agence France-Presse, "Official whitewash cannot hide depth of crisis in Vietnam highlands," March 17, 2001.

336 David Brunnstrom, "Officials differ over religion in Vietnam unrest," Reuters, March 16, 2001.

337 Videotape and English-language translation of VTV program on file at Human Rights Watch. See also Tini Tran, "Vietnam airs first footage of Central Highlands protests," March 28, 2001.

338 "Report on the Protestants' Situation in Dak Lak Province," September 3, 2001, written by a Protestant church leader in the Central Highlands who asked to remain anonymous. Vietnamese language document and English translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

339 Ibid.

340 Interview with Jarai man from Kontum, October 31, 2001.

341 "Proces Verbal (writ), Concerning illegal religious activities," signed and witnessed by the leader of the religious gathering, two government officials, and two policemen, March 18, 2001. Vietnamese language document and English translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

342 "Proces Verbal," signed by Commune Police Chief and Deputy Chief and [name withheld] head of household, April 25, 2001. Vietnamese language document and English translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

343 "Proces Verbal," April 6, 2001, signed by "perpetrator" [name withheld], Commune Chief and policeman. Vietnamese language document and English translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

344 "Report on the Situation of Christian Believers in Dak Lak Province," July 2001, written by a Protestant church leader in the Central Highlands who asked to remain anonymous. English translation of Vietnamese language document on file at Human Rights Watch.

345 "Central Highlands Christian Workers' Situation Reports, December 2001 through February 2002," written by Protestant church leaders who asked to remain anonymous. English translation of Vietnamese language document on file at Human Rights Watch.

346 David Brunnstrom, "Pastors say some curbs eased in Vietnam highlands," Reuters, February 18, 2002; Clare Arthurs, "First Vietnamese refugees return home," BBC News Online, February 19, 2002; David Brunnstrom, "Tearful minority women defy Vietnamese officials," Reuters, February 9, 2002.

347 "Report on the Situation of Christian Believers in Dak Lak Province," July 2001, written by a Protestant church leader in the Central Highlands who asked to remain anonymous. English translation of Vietnamese language document on file at Human Rights Watch.

348 "Signed Citizen Report," Addressed to General Assembly of the Vietnam Protestant Church, Bureau of Religious Affairs, Dak Lak Province, Governing Body of the Vietnam Protestant Church in Dak Lak, dated July 29, 2001. English translation of Vietnamese language document on file at Human Rights Watch.

349 See Appendix D, page 182, for entire petition, "Written Complaint to Dak Lak Bureau of Religious Affairs sent by villagers in Buon Don District, Dak Lak," August 2001. Vietnamese-language document and translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

350 Written Decision signed by Commune Police Chief [name withheld], dated August 27, 2001. "Record of Pledge to Abandon Protestantism," August 7, 2001. Vietnamese-language document and translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

351 See, for example: "Plea for Help" to Bureau of Religious Affairs, Phu Yen Province, from resident of Song Hinh District, July 25, 2001; Complaint to Religious Affairs Bureau, Phu Yen Province, from Members of the Church of [name withheld] village, Song Hinh District, Phu Yen Province, August 22, 2001. Vietnamese-language document and translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

352 "Massive Crackdown Against Vietnam's Highland Christians," Vietnam Observer, April 30, 2001.

353 "Complaint to Religious Affairs Bureau, Phu Yen Province," (Commune name withheld), August 22, 2001. English translation of Vietnamese language document on file at Human Rights Watch.

354 Reuters, "After unrest, Vietnam paper publishes riot code," March 29, 2001.

355 Cited in BBC News Online, "Vietnam `troublemakers' face prosecution," April 18, 2001.

356 Agence France-Presse, "Vietnam to hold mass trial of 41 people over highlands unrest," June 16, 2001. Associated Press, "Vietnam to place 41 people on trial for highlands unrest," June 18, 2001.

357 Viet Nam News Service, "Gia Lai provocateurs dealt hefty prison terms for crimes," Viet Nam News, September 28, 2001. VNS, "Stiff jail terms mandated for saboteurs of public security," September 28, 2001.

358 VNS, "Stiff jail terms mandated for saboteurs of public security," September 28, 2001.

359 Vietnam News Agency, "Seven Sentences for Security Destablizers in Central Highlands Province," September 26, 2001. Vietnam News Agency, "Central Highlands Unrest Mastermind Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison," September 27, 2001.

360 "Dac Lac court concludes trial of six ethnic minority dissidents," October 19, 2001, translation of Vietnamese media by BBC Monitoring Service.

361 Associated Press, "Vietnamese court sentences five more people in Central Highlands unrest," November 7, 2001.

362 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai people from Ia Grai District, November 6, 2001.

363 Nhan Dan (The People), Four receive jail terms for organizing illegal migrations," January 28, 2002. Associated Press, "Four sentenced in Vietnam for organizing border crossings into Cambodia," January 28, 2002.

364 Reuters, "No defense lawyers for most Vietnam trials, "December 27, 2001.

365 Voice of Vietnam, Hanoi, in Vietnamese, 26 September 2001, BBC Monitoring.

366 Penal Code of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, cited in A Selection of Fundamental Laws of Vietnam, the Gioi Publishers, Hanoi, 2001.

367 Human Rights Watch/Asia, "Vietnam: Human Rights in a Season of Transition: Law and Dissent in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 7, no. 12, August 1995.

368 Commission on Human Rights, Question of the Human Rights of All Persons Subjected to Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Visit to Vietnam, E/CN.4/1995/31/Add.4, January 18, 1995.

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