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Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Independence - Freedom - Happiness


To: General Assembly of the Vietnam Protestant Church

Religion Committee of Dak Lak Province

Governing Body of the Vietnam Protestant Church in Dak Lak Province

My name is N, born 1967 in [village and commune withheld], Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province. I wish to report the following events:

At 6:30 in the morning on July 18, 2001 I received a summons from the office of the District Police of Buon Don, signed by the chief of the district police force, Mr. P. The topic was the practice of religion in [village and commune names withheld]. I began my visits to the police station on July 18, 2001. I was questioned by Mr. H. He first stated to me: I have summoned you here for questioning and there is no time limit on this work; it can last from two to three months and only when I'm finished will it be over. I have been to the police station eight days already, leaving home in the morning and returning in the afternoon, using a liter of gasoline each day. Those were on the 18th, 19th, 20th, 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. I must continue going, and was told I had to buy a pen with my own funds.

1. At my first meeting with H, he told me to write a full report on (1) when the church governing body in [commune name withheld] was established, (2) who was the chairman, (3) who was the deputy chairman, (4) who was secretary, (5) who was the treasurer, and who were the other members and their positions. I told him that we hadn't elected a governing body because the government had not yet permitted it. Mr. H then asked me, your name is on the governing board, who chose you for this position? I told him that Ama T had selected me to assist him in the church on occasions such as weddings and funerals etc.

2. H asked me, why are you teaching religion when you're not a pastor? I responded, in our commune, Ama T is the teacher, but if he is sick or busy with other work, he has me read the Bible and lead prayers and then end the service.

3. H asked me, Why do you go to [name withheld commune]? I responded that I only went there to bury the dead and to celebrate Tet, because that hamlet has a recreation area.

4. H asked again about my reading the Bible at Ama T's home-you aren't a pastor, why are you teaching religion? Do you admit that you are in the wrong? I didn't respond. He continued, "You write down these illegal actions on your part":

You are not a pastor or missionary;

You have no degree/diploma;

You haven't studied in any Bible classes;

You call yourself a preacher, because you do what Ama T tells you to do;

You don't have any authority or official position;

You haven't asked permission from the local government;

You carry on activities in your home and not in the church;

You carry on activities in Ama T's house;

When he finished speaking he told me to write down my crimes. When I had finished writing he summarized: "You are guilty of eight crimes in total." I responded that I wasn't guilty of eight crimes. He pressured me to admit to eight crimes, and when I had admitted to them, he said that now I had to accept my punishment for each of the crimes. I first wrote that I would accept the punishment imposed on me by the police, but he didn't accept this. Then I wrote that I should be obligated to engage in self-criticism in front of all the people, but he didn't accept this either. He told me that the crimes of which I was guilty warranted imprisonment or even capital punishment. Then I wrote that I deserved to be killed because I was a criminal; I would be executed in front of the people.

5. Mr. H cursed me, and said I was stupid: "So you believe in God? Have you ever seen him? What has God given you? Has he given you money? Have you borrowed money from the bank? God hasn't given you anything at all, but the state lets you borrow money, the state builds roads, the state gives you electricity!"

6. He 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 six months, and asked who would work the fields during this time. He said he'd put me in jail, and that my eight crimes really merited execution. I said I hadn't committed eight crimes, that the eight crimes were really only one and involved religious activities, and I hadn't done anything bad. If I have done anything wrong I will correct it and learn from it. He didn't listen to anything I said-he just had me return to the police station for more questioning.

This is my report which I send to you for consideration. The district police refuse to give me the chance to correct the mistakes I have made in the past and learn from them but have determined that I must: (1) be reeducated, (2) be jailed, (3) be executed.

I ask you to help me so that I don't have to be going continually to the district police station. Since I have been going there, no one in the family has been available to work the fields, and my whole family is suffering.

Thank you very much.

July 29, 2001



505 Original Vietnamese language document, obtained by Human Rights Watch in September 2001, is on file at Human Rights Watch. Names have been withheld to protect the security of the petitioner.

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