FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hospital Treatment Denied to Vietnamese Pastor in Prison
Nguyen Trung Ton’s Health Deteriorating, Prison Rejects Medicine Sent by Family
11/09/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Vietnamese pastor Nguyen Trung Ton has been denied medical care despite his deteriorating health. Prison authorities denied him both hospital treatment and medicine delivered by his family.
The activist was arrested on July 30, 2017 along with other members of his pro-democracy group, Brotherhood for Democracy. He was convicted of attempting to overthrow the communist government and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
In Gia Trung Prison, located in the Central Highlands, he continues to suffer from an injured leg from when security agents kidnapped and tortured him in February 2017. He can hardly move in his cell due to the wounds.
His wife, Nguyen Thi Lanh, embarked on a 15-hour bus ride from Thanh Hoa province to Daklak province to see him. She told ICC, “In October, me and others went to visit him, but the prison did not allow us to see him. They said due to health reasons he was unable to meet me.”
Every trip to the Central Highlands is a challenge because Ms. Lanh is her family’s sole breadwinner and the caretaker of her ill daughter, young son, and blind mother-in-law. The last time Ms. Lanh saw Pastor Ton was in August. Authorities allegedly warned her not to travel from her home without government approval.
According to UCA News, Brotherhood for Democracy shared that Pastor Ton told his wife on October 22 that he is suffering from a bacterial infection, kidney failure, and sleeplessness. “His health is rapidly deteriorating due to being kept in bad conditions,”the group stated.
When Pastor Ton’s family sent in medicine for him, it was returned soon after. It is evident that the Vietnamese government intends to prolong his suffering while cutting him off from direct contact with friends and family.
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Based on humanitarian grounds, the prison should meet the medical needs of its prisoners. Yet, Gia Trung Prison not only rejected crucial medical care for Pastor Ton, it prohibited his loved ones from visiting him. ICC calls on the international community to put pressure on the Vietnamese government so that Pastor Ton can receive the necessary treatment to treat his sustained pain.”
International Christian Concern is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on human rights, religious freedom and assisting the persecuted Christian Church around the world.