Nguyen Trung Ton | Vietnam
(Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, VOM Canada, Geneva Summit)
Protestant pastor and freedom of religion activist Nguyen Trung Ton, was arrested on July 30, 2017 at his home in Thanh Hoa. On April 5, 2018 Pastor Ton, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for ‘carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the government’ under Article 79 of the Vietnamese penal code. On June 4, 2018, Pastor Ton and four other defenders had their sentences upheld at an appeal trial. In July 2018 Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton was transferred from a detention centre in Hanoi, to a prison camp in Dak Lak province, about 1,000 km from his home
Pastor Ton has been imprisoned before. In 2011 he was sentenced to two years in prison, on charges of ‘anti-state propaganda’ under Article 88 of the penal code. His real crime was that he had advocated for the right to freedom of religion or belief and had spoken out against social injustices in Vietnam. After his release from prison, he faced numerous instances of harassment from security officials.
In February 2018, Pastor Ton’s son, Nguyen Trung Trong Nghia, addressed the 10th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy to tell the story of the ongoing harassment against his father, his mother’s struggle to sustain the family, and the persecution against independent church leaders. He told the audience: “While in jail, my father has been denied a lawyer. And it was only a few weeks ago, after 6 months, that my mother was able to see meet my dad. Everybody busted out in tears as my 10-year-old brother started crying because he sees dad. My mom couldn’t hold her tears, thinking of what has been happening for our family for the past 16 years. Ever since we started to be different, ever since we started to stand for what is right, ever since we started to say, ‘enough is enough’.
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Pastor Nguyen is married with children
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Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam
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