A Vietnamese Christian jailed for almost 16 years for demanding land rights and religious freedom has been released. Yet his future remains uncertain as he battles health issues stemming from his time in prison.
According to Radio Free Asia, Y Ngun Knul was released from prison last week after spending nearly two decades in Nam Ha and Thanh Chuong prisons in Nghe An province.
He was first arrested and imprisoned on April 20, 2004, for launching protests calling for a Protestant church shut down by authorities to be reopened and for the members of his community to be allowed to live according to their traditions. Knul was initially issued an 18-year sentence which was later reduced.
“As those rights were being taken away, people were becoming upset, and so I called on everyone to take part in the protests. As a result, I was arrested and sentenced to 18 years in prison,” Knul said, speaking to RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
The Christian was visited by his family only four times during his time behind bars, notes RFA, and he and his family have suffered in the past decade. Knul’s family lost their house and land, and he now struggles with poor health due to years of incarceration.
“I have kidney failure and high blood pressure and had a gastrointestinal hemorrhage,” he told RFA. “Now I can eat only a bowl of rice per day because I have stomach problems that make it hard for me to breathe.”
“My foot is swelling, too, making it hard for me to move … I would like to go to a hospital for treatment, but I have no money now.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett