Vietnam jails four Montagnards for political activity

Other News Materials 8 August 2008 15:22 (UTC +04:00)

A court in Vietnam's Central Highlands has sentenced four members of ethnic minorities, known as Montagnards, to prison for encouraging demonstrations and helping others to flee into Cambodia, Vietnamese press reported Friday afternoon.

The website of the newspaper "People's Police" reported that on August 5, the People's Court of Dak Nong province convicted Y Ngheng, 34, and Dieu Loai, 25, under Article 87 of Vietnam's Legal Code, "Undermining the unity policy."

The two were said to have encouraged Montagnards in Dak Nong to demonstrate against the Vietnamese government in 2007, reported dpa.

Y Tinh, 22, and Y Wang, 21, were convicted under Article 275, "Organizing and/or coercing other people to flee abroad or to stay abroad illegally." They were said to have helped 35 Montagnards flee Vietnam for Cambodia.

Y Ngheng was sentenced to six years in prison, and Dieu Loai to five years. Both also received three years of restricted movement after their release. Y Tinh and Y Wang received three and two years in prison, respectively.

The government said the four had collaborated with a group called FULRO, a Montagnard guerrilla organization which fought the Vietnamese government in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

A former leader of FULRO, who now runs a US-based advocacy organization called the Montagnard Foundation, said the guerrilla group no longer exists.

"People's Police" called the sentences "a lesson for those considering opposition, separation, or going against the policies of the Party and the laws of the state."