Vietnam arrests pastor of banned Mennonite church

AP News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2011 11:46 PM
Vietnam arrests pastor of banned Mennonite church

Vietnamese authorities have arrested the pastor of an outlawed Mennonite church for allegedly sowing division between the government and citizens of this communist nation, state media reported Friday.

Nguyen Cong Chinh, 42, was taken into police custody in the central highland province of Gia Lai on Thursday, accused of undermining the government policy of unity, the Vietnam News said. He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

The state-run newspaper said the charges stem from allegedly hostile comments Chinh posted on the Internet and interviews he gave to foreign media. It accused Chinh of disseminating distorted information and inciting people to protest.

Representatives for Chinh could not be reached for comment.

Vietnam's communist government has tight control over society and all churches must get government approval to operate.