22 February 2018
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  • » 02/02/2018, 09.39

    LAOS

    Five Protestants still in prison after inviting pastor for Christmas



    They are charged with violating the rules that limit Christian practice in the district of Phin. Local official: "Christianity is the religion of Europeans and Americans". There are numerous episodes of intolerance and abuse of Christians across the country.

    Vientiane (AsiaNews / RFA) - Five Protestant Christians from the village of Non Soung, in the western province of Savannakhet, are still being held by the Laotian authorities, for having invited the pastor of a nearby village to organize the Christmas celebrations in their community. A local resident told RFA that the invitation would have constituted a violation of the rules aimed at limiting the practice of the Christian religion in the district of Phin.

    "A few days before Christmas - the source says - district security officials arrested the five and the pastor". It is believed that the five are held and there is currently no news about their health conditions. "As a rule, villagers can celebrate Christmas only in their village. People from other villages are not allowed to participate ".

    An official from Phin District confirms that the Christian celebrations at Phin are subject to a wide range of checks. "In general, Christians are still limited in the profession of their faith in this district," says the official, also on condition of anonymity. "They do not have permission to teach the Bible or spread their religion to others, because Christianity is the religion of Europeans and Americans".

    Throughout the past year, there have been numerous arrests among Christians in the country. World Watch Monitor, a Protestant group active in the field of religious freedom, reports that the pastor of a village in the northern province of Luang Prabang was arrested for preaching to residents of another location. In addition, more than 50 Christian residents of a village in the province of Bolikhamxay (photo) were ordered by other inhabitants to renounce their faith, and when they refused, one was killed and others were forced to flee.

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    See also

    14/11/2014 LAOS
    Scores of Hmong Christians arrested and evicted for refusing to give up their religion
    Six families in the District of Khamkeut were forced to leave their homes, driven out by village leaders because they refused to return to their old animist religion. One of the elders of the family died from grief shortly after the forced eviction. Two young Hmong Christians remain in prison of their faith.

    23/02/2007 UZBEKISTAN
    Five years jail for those who convert Muslims to Christianity.
    Forum 18 said this was the reason behind the arrest of a Protestant pastor called Shestakov, who has been detained for more than a month awaiting trial for “inciting religious hatred” and more crimes. Another pastor was arrested for being found with religious texts in his possession as have many believers because they were holding meeting in homes.

    12/07/2011 LAOS
    Fears for lives of Protestant pastors in prison for six months
    Arrested on 4 January, the two religious leaders are facing serious health problems. Authorities condition release on their renouncing their faith. Improvement in conditions of Christian families expelled from the village of Katyn in 2010.

    19/07/2005 LAOS
    Two Christians sentenced to three years in prison


    21/09/2015 LAOS
    Arrested for praying, Laotian Christian dies in prison for lack of treatment
    Tiang, a married father of six, died in jail waiting before his appeal could be heard. Although he suffered from diabetes, prison officials repeatedly denied him treatment. He and four others had been convicted for praying on behalf of a terminally ill woman, an act the authorities deemed an “improper medical treatment”.



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