Officials at a Vietnamese prison are torturing a pastor for violating an order to keep silent to U.S. officials about they ways prison officials previously abused him.
Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, father of five, met with officials from the U.S. consulate in Ho Chi Minh City in May and told them that prison officials had beaten him, put him in stocks, put glass in his food, and humiliated him, according to UCA News Tuesday.
Chinh’s wife, Tran Thi Hong, who was also beaten and imprisoned for two months and continues to suffer harassment, told UCA News that prison officials put Chinh in solitary confinement in a small space immediately after his meeting with U.S. officials. Prison officials warned Chinh the day before the meeting that he was not to speak of the abuses they inflict on him.
“I am very concerned about his poor health in solitary confinement because he is suffering severe sinusitis and high blood pressure,” Hong said.
The Vietnamese government arrested Chinh in 2012 on the charge of “undermining government solidarity” for criticizing how religious expression is limited in Vietnam and sentenced him to 11 years in prison, according to Jackie Wolcott from the U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom.
Chinh has been abused for six years for refusing to admit wrongdoing, despite prison officials’ attempts to make him confess. Vietnamese government officials attempted to break Chinh earlier this year by lying to him that his wife, Hong, had been unfaithful.
“Pastor Chinh has not committed a crime,” Wolcott said. “Yet he suffers in prison in ill health while Vietnamese authorities harass his family. As long as he remains in prison and as long as authorities unfairly treat his family, I will publicly and privately raise their case so that one day soon they may be reunited in safety and able to practice their faith freely.”
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