Four defendants, who reside in Vinh Hai commune, Vinh Chau town, southern Soc Trang province, received sentences from two to six years’ imprisonment on September 27 for “fleeing abroad to act against the people’s administration” and “organising for other people to flee abroad”.

Following the first instance public hearing held by the Soc Trang province People’s Court, Thach Thuol, born in 1985, received a six-year jail sentence; Lieu Ny, 1986, get four years; and Thach Phum Rit, 1989, three years for “fleeing abroad to act against the people’s administration”. Tra Quanh Tha, born in 1978, was sentenced to two years in prison for “organising for other people to flee abroad”.

According to the verdict of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, some Vietnamese exiles of the Khmer origin belonging to the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) contacted and asked Thach Thuol, deputy head of the Ta Set pagoda, and Lieu Ny, head of the Ta Set pagoda in Soc Trang, to provide information to and follow instructions from the reactionary organisation from 2010.

Thach Thuol and Lieu Ny received 118 million VND (5,590 USD) in 12 times from the KKF and gave 21 interviews to foreign radio stations, slandering that the Vietnamese Government violates Khmer people’s human rights.

Because of their actions, Thach Thuol and Lieu Ny were forced to give up their positions as monks by the Patriot Monk Association. When the association representatives came to the pagoda, the two did not accept the decision and gathered others to accuse the police of “destroying the pagoda” and call on Buddhist followers to go to the pagoda in order to hinder the association. Thach Thuol and Lieu Ny instructed Thach Phum Rich to make video clips slandering the Vietnamese authorities, alleging that the authorities suppressed the monks of the Ta Set pagoda.

On May 20, 2013, Thach Thuoi and Lieu Ny met and asked Thach Phum Rit and Tra Quanh Tha to help them escape to Cambodia. They were arrested by the police of Khanh Binh commune, An Phu district, southern An Giang province while attempting to cross the border.-VNA