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Security Police intensify harassment of UBCV monks in Lam Dong – UBCV monk Thich Tri Khai is still missing

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PARIS, 28 May 2008 (IBIB) – The International Budhist Information Bureau has received an urgent appeal from the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) following serious harassments and intimidation by Security Police against UBCV monks in Lam Dong Province.

On Tuesday (27.5.2008), Security Police surrounded the Su Tu Hong Pagoda in Duc Trong District, Lam Dong, where UBCV monk Thich Tam Man is Superior monk. Interrupting the morning prayers, the Police banged on the door, shouted loudly and tried to force their way into the Pagoda. Thich Tam Man, Vice-President of the UBCV’s Lam Dong Representative Board, was obliged to cease prayers and came to the door. The Police immediately seized him, dragged him bodily into a vehicle and took him to the Police station. He was subjected to aggressive questioning throughout the whole day, and was allowed no food. Thich Tam Man was taken back to his pagoda in the evening, but Police have summoned him for further interrogations today (Wednesday 28.5.2008). The UBCV says that Security Police are using harassments, intimidation and psychological pressure to terrorize and demoralize Thich Tam Man and make him cease all contact with the outlawed UBCV.

Subjected to similar intensive interrogations by Lam Dong Security Police, Venerable Thich Nhu Tan, President of the UBCV Lam Dong Representative Board, was transported to Saigon for hospital treatment on Monday (26.5.2008). He is suffering from exhaustion. For the past three weeks, since 5th May, Thich Nhu Tan was submitted to non-stop interrogations every day. Police also denied him food during interrogations. Thich Nhu Tan took a vow of silence on 9.5.2008, refusing to answer any further questions, but Security Police forced him to attend daily interrogations at their local headquarters, and tried to coerce him to sign a declaration renouncing the banned UBCV.

Moreover, the International Buddhist Information Bureau is gravely concerned by the continued disappearance of UBCV monk Thich Tri Khai, Superior monk of Giac Hai Pagoda in Don Duong District, Lam Dong. After Police broke the locks of his Pagoda on 29.4.2008 and seized the premises for State-sponsored Vesak celebrations, Thich Tri Khai was locked in a room of the Pagoda, then disappeared without trace on 7th May. Security Police told Thich Nhu Tan during an interrogation session that Thich Tri Khai had gone to Saigon for medical treatment. He has never been seen since. His mobile phone has been cut and all attempts by UBCV colleagues, family and friends to discover Thich Tri Khai’s whereabouts have failed.

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