Vietnam Punishes Tortured Pastor After He Revealed Human Rights Abuses to US
By Samuel Smith, CP Reporter
Jun 15, 2017
The wife of a pastor imprisoned in Vietnam says government officials have locked her husband away in a cramped space in retaliation for informing U.S. officials during a visit in May about the brutality that he has faced as a prisoner of conscience.
Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, an outspoken evangelical pastor and pro-democracy activist, was arrested in 2011 and charged with undermining national security. Chinh, who is the founder of the Vietnamese People's Evangelical Fellowship and has spoken out against a preaching ban in the Central Highlands, was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment.
Chinh's wife, Tran Thi Hong, told the Asia-based Catholic news outlet ucanews.com that her husband met with officials from the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City on May 25 and detailed how he has been physically and mentally tortured inside the three prisons he has been held in over the last six years.
"Chinh said on the previous day, prison officials informed him about the meeting and asked him not to tell the visitors anything that would make them look bad," Hong said, explaining that she met with her husband last Wednesday.
However, Chinh did not obey that order.
"He told the delegation his experiences of torture, threats and mistreatment that he has endured over six years," Hong said.
According to Hong, her husband told the U.S. officials that prison guards put shards of glass in his food, beat him, put him in stocks, locked him in solitary confinement and subjected him to other forms of corporal punishment.
Because Chinh did not give into his captors' demands to keep quiet about the abuses he suffered, Hong said her husband was punished.
Hong explained that immediately after the U.S. delegation left the prison, Chinh was locked away in a cramped space and was kept isolated from the rest of the prison population as punishment.