GIA LAI (VNS)— The Gia Lai Provincial People's Court yesterday began the trial of eight defendants who were earlier prosecuted for "sabotaging the policy on solidarity" in accordance with Article 87 of the Criminal Code.
The defendants are Runh, Jonh (also known as Chinh), Byuk, Dinh Hron and Dinh Lu from Gia Lai Province and A Hyum (also known as Ba Kol), A Tach (also known as Ba Hlol) and Y Gyin from Kon Tum Province.
Y Gyin received the shortest of the eight jail terms with three years' imprisonment. A Tach received the longest with 11 years.
According to the indictment presented by the Gia Lai provincial People's Procuracy, Y Gyin started a rumour in 2002 that the Virgin Mary (or "Virgin Pluk") had appeared in Ha Mon, where a hydro-electricity plant was to be built.
He asked local people to gather to pray at Ha Mon in order to hinder Kon Tum province's plans to relocate local people to build the plant. A Tach and A Hyum were particularly devoted followers.
By 2008, the three defendants had enticed thousands of people from the two Central Highlands provinces to gather at Ha Mon.
In 2008, A Hyum also contacted the organisation FULRO, led by Ksor Kok, to ask for help. FULRO (currently in exile in the US) allegedly guided Y Gyin and his accomplices to prepare to establish a "private state" for ethnic minority people in Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Kon Tum and Lam Dong.
A Tach, A Hyum and Y Gyin went to Gia Lai many times to spread propaganda about the Virgin Pluk and "private state".
A Tach and A Hyum assigned Runh, Jonh, Byuk, Dinh Hron and Dinh Lu to lead FULRO branches in several Central Highlands provinces. — VNS