Vietnamese pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, known for his campaigns advocating greater freedom of religion in Vietnam, has been denied medical treatment while imprisoned, sparking concerns among human rights organizations.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a religious freedom charity, Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton is currently suffering from the long-term effects of COVID-19 and an eye disease that has led to near-total loss of vision.
Reports from the local region indicate that authorities at Gia Trung Prison are refusing to allow him to receive medical examinations or treatment. Additionally, his family has been unable to send him necessary medication, worsening his condition. The conditions at the prison have also raised concerns, with reports suggesting a lack of clean water. As a result, his wife has expressed grave worries for his life.
Mervyn Thomas, the founder president of CSW, has called attention to Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton’s deteriorating health and urged the Vietnamese government to provide him with the urgent medical attention he requires. Thomas further emphasized the need for the immediate release of Pastor Ton and other unjustly detained human rights defenders, including Nguyen Bac Truyen, Pham Van Troi, and Truong Minh Duc, who were all tried on the same day as Pastor Ton in April 2018.
Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton has been a prominent advocate for the right to freedom of religion or belief and has spoken out against social injustices in Vietnam. However, in 2018, he was sentenced to a harsh prison term of 12 years on charges of “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the government.” The sentence was widely criticized by human rights organizations and international observers, who viewed it as an infringement on the right to freedom of expression and an attempt to suppress dissent.
Vietnam has faced criticism in the past for its treatment of religious minorities and human rights activists. The government’s strict control over religious practices and its crackdown on dissent have raised concerns among human rights advocates. The case of Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton highlights the ongoing challenges faced by individuals advocating for greater freedom of religion and human rights in Vietnam.
As concern grows over the denial of medical treatment for Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, pressure mounts on the Vietnamese government to address the issue and ensure his well-being.
The international community, human rights organizations, and religious freedom advocates are closely monitoring the situation and calling for immediate action to safeguard his health and secure his release.