Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang is released from prison



This is a translation of a press release dated 30 August 2005 from the VMC




At 5:30PM on 30 August 2005 Evangelist Mrs Le thi Phu Dung received a phone call from her husband, Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang, with the news that he had been released from prison. After completing registration with the District 2 and Binh Khanh ward authorities, at 7:00 p.m. the same day he was reunited with his family and with the church at the Mennonite Church office, C5/1H Tran Nao Street, District 2, Ho chi minh City.

The Mennonite Church calls on the Vietnamese government to release Evangelist Pham Ngoc Thach, the only Mennonite church worker still being held of the six church leaders arrested since March 2004, and to
respect our freedom to exercise our religious faith. We believe that the early release of pastor Quang is the result of the great concern expressed by many governments, human rights agencies, international press coverage and evangelical believers both within and beyond Mennonite circles. The family of pastor Quang wishes to express their deep appreciation to all believers who supported them in prayer, and to all those persons who actively supported pastor Quang, and the brothers and sisters in the Vietnam Mennonite church who have persevered by their faith.

To review the situation - Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang was arrested on 8 June 2004 and the People's Court of Ho chi minh City sentenced him on 12, November 2004 to 3 years imprisonment for "opposing persons carrying out their official duties." On 12 April 2005 the Supreme People's Court of Ho chi minh City met to review his case on appeal, but retained the original sentence. In actuality, during the triggering events of 2 March 2004, pastor Quang and the 5 church workers mentioned above had strenuously requested that the security police write an accurate report of the incident that had occurred, but their request was not acceded to. They did not oppose the officials, in the proper definition of the civil law of Vietnam, nor as the court incorrectly ruled.

During the period from 8 June 2004 to 30 August 2005, pastor Quang was incarcerated in the following prisons: Phan Dang Luu prison #4 in Ho chi minh City; Chi Hoa prison in Ho chi minh City; Bo La prison in Binh Duong province; Gia Trung prison in Daklak province; Z30A prison in Xuan Loc, Dong Nai province. During this time his health was seriously affected; many times he fainted and his strength gave out while performing labor in the prisons. The conditions of his imprisonment were harsh. For long periods near the end he was kept among prisoners with AIDS, so the possibility of infection is quite high, and many times he was beaten by criminals in the prisons. His Bible was confiscated, and he was forbidden to pray for other prisoners in his area; and there were times when he was disciplined for preaching to the prisoners.

On 20 June 2005 the Vietnam Mennonite Church sent a detailed report to the US Congress. An even more detailed report was made of 77 events of harassment of the Evangelical Mennonite Church in District 2
Specifically, beginning with pastor Quang's arrest on 8 June 2004 up until 30 May 2005. Recently, on 19 July 2005, the District 2 authorities arranged the demolition of part of the Mennonite Church office there, which includes the residence of pastor Quang.



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