Even praying counted as an offense: Christians illegally arrested while praying in a province of Laos

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Lao Christians

Christians arrested in Laos, over alleged charges of proselytising.

According to fides, two Christians were hooked by the police in the Eastern province of Khammouan, in Laos, on charges of alleged proselytizing. Both these Christians were arrested from a house in a village Nong-hang. The Christians arrested are 43-year-old Bountheung Phetsomphone, and 40-year-old Neuy.

In keeping with details, Bountheung Phetsomphone is a Christian leader not from Nong-hang, but another village. Neuy, also is resident of a close by village. An NGO, “Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom” reported to fides that “Bountheung had gone to visit some Christian families in the village of Nong-hang and the Christians started to pray at home. Then the police broke into the house. Both Bountheung and Neuy, are married and have three children.”

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The HRWLRF has insisted upon the Lao government to “respect the right of the people of Laos to religious freedom, guaranteed by the Constitution” and to impede the misuse of authority by the police in the district.

It was since 2008, that the District Police started observing the expansion of Christianity in the area till now. When the police was informed about the arrival of Christian leader Bountheung, police raided the house where the Christians were which, “is totally illegal and unconstitutional,” HRWLRF states.

Christian leader Bountheung had previously been under observation since 2012, when 300 people converted to Christianity, after they listened to his experience and testimony. He was hooked by the police in August 2012 and was released subsequently. Similarly, Neuy mat same circumstances in the past, being under observation by the police over alleged intention to spread the Christian faith in the area.