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Vietnam places three monks from banned church under house arrest

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2003

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) Three monks from a banned Buddhist church have been placed under house arrest for allegedly violating national security laws, the Vietnamese government said.

The detained monks belong to an outlawed sect that has clashed repeatedly with Hanoi.

Thich Tue Sy, Thich Thanh Huyen and Thich Nguyen Ly from the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam were placed under two years' house arrest by the chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, according to an Oct. 16 statement from Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung.

Vietnamese law allows detention without trial for up to two years for anyone deemed a national security threat.

Dung insisted that the arrests didn't violate the monks' religious freedoms, and that ''there is no such thing as 'religious repression' in Vietnam, but only the handling of lawbreaking acts.''

Vietnam allows only a handful of government-backed churches to operate. In 1981 it ordered the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam to merge with the state-sponsored Vietnam Buddhist Church. The Unified Buddhist Church has defied the order.



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