Torture Survivors' Stories
Khmer Krom Buddhist Monk Kim Muon
Venerable Kim Muon, a member of the Khmer Krom ethnic minority group in Vietnam, was forcibly defrocked, expelled from the monkhood, and imprisoned in Soc Trang province in 2007 after participating in a peaceful protest with 200 other Khmer Krom monks calling for religious freedom. He was interrogated and tortured in Soc Trang prison.
“When you enter the interrogation room, you feel very afraid. There was a table and chair; windows but they did not open. There were two people in the room. The one who asked the questions was not the one who beat me. He would call the others in to beat me.
“Every time I was interrogated, they beat me. They used a water bottle to hit me under my arms, on both sides. I must raise my arms, or they would hit me in the face.
“They smashed my head against the wall. The wall had been specially made, with concrete lumps in it, for torture.
“During interrogation they would use different methods if I did not confess. Sometimes they put a rug on my head to smother me. They would make me eat dog meat, which as a monk I cannot eat. Or they would put underwear on my head. They insulted and cursed me, tried to make me mad. They said I’d become a monk in order to become involved in politics.
“Sometimes they took my head and pushed it into water until I was unconscious. Two people held my arms on each side and pushed my head down.
“Afterwards, we have to sign the confession that they wrote up themselves. My writing was not clear because I was in handcuffs. So they took my hand and forced me to sign.”
UPDATE: After his release from prison in 2009, Ven. Kim Muon fled Vietnam and was resettled as a refugee abroad, where he continues to advocate for religious freedom and cultural rights for Khmer Krom people.
--Interview conducted by the Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam.