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VIETNAM: HIGH COST OF DEFENDING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
plus update on Iranian prisoner Amin Afshar-Naderi
by Elizabeth Kendal
Arrested in April 2011, Lutheran pastor, evangelist and religious liberty advocate Nguyen Cong Chinh was sentenced in June 2012 to 11 years in prison for 'undermining national unity'. In prison he has been subjected to long periods in solitary confinement, torture and other cruel mistreatment and abuse. Meanwhile, his wife Tran Thi Hong, another courageous religious liberty advocate, has been routinely beaten and harassed. Both have paid a high price for their public defence of religious liberty [RLPB 359 (1 June 2016)]. A little over a month ago, urgent prayer was requested for Pastor Chinh, for not only had his health deteriorated, but he was being punished for telling a delegation from the US Consulate about the torture, beatings, cruelty and harassment he has suffered in prison [RLPB 412 (28 June)].
|Commissioner Jackie Wolcott advocates on |
behalf of Pastor Chinh and Tran Tri Hong.
On 28 July Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, his wife Tran Thi Hong and their five children arrived in Los Angeles, USA, having accepted a deal from the Communist government of Vietnam that saw Chinh released from prison on the condition that he leave the country. While we rejoice that Pastor Chinh and his family are now free and safe, we are saddened that this freedom had to come at the high cost of exile.
Internationally acclaimed Protestant human rights lawyer and religious liberty advocate Nguyen Van Dai has already spent four years in prison (2008-2011), followed by four years of house arrest (to March 2015) for the crime of 'spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam'. He was re-arrested on 16 December 2015 as he attempted to meet with European Union representatives [RLPB 354 (27 April 2016)]. Detained without charge, the authorities have extended Dai's detention three times [RLPB 391 (25 Jan 2017)]. Denied contact with her husband, Dai's wife Vu Minh Khanh, another courageous religious liberty advocate, travelled to raise awareness of his plight [RLPB 359 (1 June 2016)].
|Nguyen Van Dai|
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR GOD TO
* bless, comfort, encourage and bring healing to Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, his wife Tran Thi Hong and their five children, as they settle into life in the USA; may the Lord provide their every need and continue to use them in his service and for his glory. May the Lord send out more workers into the 'fields' (Luke 10:2) of the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
* intervene on behalf of Nguyen Van Dai and his co-accused, that justice and reason prevail; may the charge be exposed as ridiculous, malicious and vindictive; may the accused, along with their families, friends and churches, cling to the Lord and remain firm in faith; may God redeem all suffering to bring good from this evil.
'I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' (Matthew 16:18b ESV)
UPDATE on Iranian prisoner Amin Afshar-Naderi
|Amin Afshar-Naderi |
(Mohabat News, 28 July)
* Thank-you Lord, that Amin has been able to secure temporary release on bail. Please, Lord, heal and strengthen Amin as he awaits his appeal hearing.
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
HIGH COST OF DEFENDING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN VIETNAM
Arrested in April 2011, Lutheran Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh has suffered heavily for his public defence of religious liberty, as has his wife, Tran Thi Hong. On 28 July Pastor Chinh, his wife and their five children arrived in Los Angeles, USA, having accepted a deal from Vietnam's Communist regime that saw Chinh freed on the condition that he leave the country. On 30 July authorities charged Protestant human rights lawyer and religious liberty advocate, Nguyen Van Dai, and five associates with 'carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the People's administration'. As the 'alleged instigator', Dai could face from 12 to 20 years in prison, a life sentence or a death sentence. As his 'accomplices', his co-accused could face 5 to 15 year terms. Please pray for Vietnam and its Christians.
She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and, After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).