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Arrested Montagnard emerges after 12 days

A Montagnard asylum seeker who was arrested and deported earlier this month along with his wife and three children has returned to a heavily guarded home after being detained and interrogated for 12 days by Vietnamese authorities.

Ethnic Jarai villager Klan Ren said that his brother, Klan Pen, who had been detained in Vietnam since his deportation from Cambodia on February 1, was released on Thursday.

“They released him, but … they [authorities] are stationed around his house, especially at night, because they do not want him to escape. He is in the house and cannot do anything,” Ren said.

He added that his brother had sustained rib injuries from the beatings he endured during interrogation. The families’ two motorbikes, he said, have been confiscated.

Thirty-two Montagnards – indigenous people from Vietnam’s central highlands – remained in hiding in Ratanakkiri yesterday.

Provincial police officials from both Ratanakkiri and Stung Treng travelled to Vietnam’s Gia Lai province on Sunday to discuss border security, according to a post on the National Police’s website.

But Heng Rattana, Rattanakiri deputy police chief who attended the meeting, said it had nothing to do with the Montagnards or border security.

“It was just visit [to offer] blessings,” he said before hanging up the phone.

Mao Dara, Stung Treng police chief, declined to comment, while the Vietnamese Embassy could not be reached.

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