Vietnamese authorities demolish section of Mennonite church

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - Authorities have torn down part of a Mennonite church in southern Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City.

The United States-based christian organisation, Compass Direct, says about 200 officials cordoned off the church before workmen tore down the rear of the building.

The demolished section includes the home of Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang and his family.

A local official in Ho Chi Minh City has confirmed the report, saying the portion of the was building without permission.

In April, a Vietnamese court rejected an appeal by 45-year-old Quang against a three-year jail sentence.

He was found guilty late last year of "preventing people from carrying out their official duties."

He was arrested in June 2004 following scuffles that broke out between police and several Mennonites who had photographed undercover officers carrying out surveillance of his home.

Quang has spoken out against the arrest of religious and political dissidents.

A Mennonite is a member of a Protestant church derived from the Anabaptist movement in Holland.

They are found many countries, especially the United States.

In the past, the US has accused Hanoi of repressing religious groups.