• Mr. Speaker, since the early 1990's, Pastor Duong Kim Khai has been detained or arrested thirteen times. The first time he was arrested he was just 14 years old. Usually, he is arrested for simply organizing Christian prayer sessions. Most recently, he was arrested in August 2010 for his efforts to advocate for religious freedom and social justice. The trumped up charge? Attempting to overthrow the government.
  • For this, he was sentenced to 2-8 years in prison and 3-5 years probation and house arrest.
  • Unfortunately, his wife, who was denied permission to visit him in prison, died before she could see him again. In 2011, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that the Vietnam government's detention and conviction of Pastor Duong Kim Khai and six other activists were in violation of international law.
  • But the State Department refuses to include Vietnam as a Country of Particular Concern for religious freedom. The Pastor is not only a spiritual leader in his community but he also works to promote democracy and help victims of injustice. For example, he has served as an advocate for Vietnamese farmers whose land was confiscated by the government.
  • Pastor Duong Kim Khai's trial was a sham and imprisonment is unacceptable. Freedom to worship is a human right and the Vietnamese government should immediately release him. Until they do, the State Department should call it like it is and recognize Vietnam as a Country of Particular Concern.
  • And that's just the way it is.