02/02/2018, 09.39
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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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