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Vietnam Montagnards jailed up to 10 years: media

Written By vibykhmer on Sunday, September 13, 2009 | 11:02 PM

A Vietnamese Montagnard woman in Cambodia

Monday, September 14, 2009
AFP

HANOI — Vietnam has jailed three ethnic minority Montagnards for up to 10 years after finding them guilty of "undermining national solidarity", state media said on Monday.

A court in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai gave Nhi a sentence of 10 years' imprisonment while Amlinh and Yuh each received eight years, said the Quan Doi Nhan Dan or People's Army newspaper.

The paper did not provide either the full names of the accused or an exact date for the trial.

Court officials refused to provide any details when contacted by AFP.

Members of the Montagnards backed US forces during the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975.

According to an indictment cited by the newspaper, the three had secretly planned to develop village-level Fulro organisations in March last year.

Fulro is the French acronym for the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races, which Vietnam has accused of fomenting trouble in the Central Highlands.

"They had instigated ethnic minorities there to join Fulro and prepared for a demonstration planned for August. However, their move was discovered by people and local authorities," the paper said.

In April three other Montagnards were jailed for up to 12 years on the same charge of undermining national solidarity, state media said at the time.

More than 1,000 members of the largely Christian Montagnards community fled to Cambodia after security forces put down demonstrations in the Central Highlands in 2001 against land confiscation and religious persecution.

Communist Vietnam has strongly denied a 2006 accusation by the New York-based Human Rights Watch that it had detained and tortured Montagnards who returned home under a tripartite agreement after fleeing to Cambodia.

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