Three Lao, Two Thai Christians Arrested in Laos


Date:  2012-06-25

Members of Lao military dismissed for embracing Christian faith

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LAOS (ANS) -- Compass Direct News (CDN is reporting that Lao officials arrested two Lao and two Thai Christians in Luang Namtha Province earlier this month, seizing them from a private residence in Long district, according to Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).

Scene inside a Laotian church

CDN said that officials also arrested a pastor in Luang Namtha and dismissed two civil servants in Savannakhet for converting to Christianity, HRWLRF reported. An HRWLRF source told Compass today that officials have charged the two Lao and two Thai Christians arrested on June 16 in Luang Namtha with "spreading the Christian faith without official approval."

"That is ironic, since Lao officials are highly unlikely to approve of anyone spreading the Christian faith," said another source who requested anonymity.

"Thai brothers Jonasa and Phanthakorn Wiwatdamrong, along with two local residents, one identified by the single name Chalar and the other as yet unidentified, were taken directly to Luang Namtha provincial prison," said the CDN story. "Under normal procedure, detainees would be held in a village or district prison for 36 hours during a preliminary investigation before transferring to provincial facilities, according to HRWLRF".

Elsewhere, the military commander of Phin district, Savannakhet Province, on June 14 discharged two members of the Alowmai village security force, identified by the single names Khamsorn and Tonglai, for converting to Christianity, according to HRWLRF.

HRWLRF has called on the Lao government to respect the right of these and other Lao citizens to religious freedom as guaranteed by the constitution and other national laws, and by international covenants ratified by the Republic.

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