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Buddhist monk Thich Khong Tanh is arrested in Saigon

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PARIS, 30 April 2010 (IBIB) – The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) has informed the International Buddhist Information Bureau that Venerable Thich Khong Tanh, UBCV Commissioner for Humanitarian and Social Affairs, was arrested by Security Police at the Thu Thiem ferry, Ward 2, Saigon at 6.30pm Vietnam time today.

Venerable Thich Khong Tanh, Superior monk at the Lien Tri Pagoda in Thu Duc, left his Pagoda at 3.00pm to visit a fellow Buddhist monk who is ill. He was just 200 yards from the Pagoda when a group of 40 men, including Security Police in uniform, plain clothed police and several hired thugs accosted him. Thich Khong Tanh asked why they were stopping him, and whether they had an arrest warrant. Since the Police did not reply, he continued walking towards the Thu Thiem ferry. The Police and Security agents then crowded around him, pushing, beating and jostling him until he fell down unconscious.

Alerted by local Buddhists, monks from the Lien Tri Pagoda rushed out and tried to rescue Thich Khong Tanh. The thugs and Police beat and assaulted them in turn, shouted insults and surrounded each of them, preventing the monks from approaching Thich Khong Tanh.

This continued until 6.30pm, when Security Police brutally threw Thich Khong Tanh bodily into a Police car and drove off. The monk’s current whereabouts are unknown.

The International Buddhist Information Bureau protests Vietnam’s unlawful arrest of a monk engaged in peaceful activities, in flagrant violation of its international obligations as a State party to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and a member of the UN Security Council.

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