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June 18, 2005

Vietnamese pastor held in mental hospital because of religious beliefs

From Christianity Today:

Reports have been released that Rev. Than Van Truong of the Baptist General Conference house church organisation is being held in a mental hospital despite claims that he is clearly sane. ...

In September 2004, the public prosecutor of Dong Nai Province stated Rev. Truong is "mentally ill and delusional" and had him committed to the Bien Hoa Mental Hospital in Dong Nai Province. He was injected with drugs that led him to a lethargic state. However, after his medication was reduced his condition improved.

In March this year, he started to write petitions regarding his case asking for intervention. The case became well known after Ms. Le Thi Hong Lien was also committed to the mental hospital, and this helped bring his situation to light.

After several western nation threatened Vietnam, authorities made the pretense of “investigating” by interviewing the pastor.

Several times during an earlier interview Dr. Tho had said that Rev. Truong was in the mental hospital because he had "committed a crime [and] broken the law" even though the public prosecutor confirmed that the findings of an investigation were negative and the case had been closed.

According to Rev. Truong, the interview sometimes turned into a bizarre argument between several Marxists and a lone Christian, with the conversation having nothing related to his mental health. They decided his firm Christian beliefs and his evangelistic attitude towards them qualified him as being delusional. Rev. Truong expressed that Dr. Tho acted more like a public security branch officer than a doctor. ...

Now that it's obvious he isn't mentally ill, Vietnamese authorities are playing the familiar game of musical excuses.

The public prosecutor, who initiated the case sending him into the hospital, now says there are no criminal charges against him. Rev. Truong's long attending doctor says he has no mental condition. However, he still remains locked in hospital.

Rev. Truong was last visited by the doctor that had been seeing him on 10th June 2005, and his absence and apparant disappearance has brought about fears that something may have happened to him. Rev. Truong and his wife are worried about his safety.

A CSW source on Vietnam remarked: "Even though authorities themselves have confirmed that Pastor Truong is neither criminal nor crazy, they still incarcerate him in a mental hospital. It sounds like the Soviet Union 50 years ago."

Pay close attention, because this is exactly where we are heading.

Also, I wonder of Jane Fonda and John Kerry are proud of their work.

Previous related stories:
Vietnamese Christian arrested for studying Bible

Posted by Danny Carlton at June 18, 2005 08:15 AM

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