Lao Authorities Intensify Campaign Against Christians in Savannakhet

Phin District, Savannakhet Province
Advocacy Alert No. 17/2012
September 19, 2012

On September 11, 2012, approximately 5:00 PM, the Savannakhet’s Phin district police arrested (1) Bounlert, pastor of Alowmai church and the leader of the Phin district Christian group, (2) Adang, pastor of Kengsainoy, and (3) Onkaew, pastor of Kapang church. Police authorities have detained all three pastors in Phin district prison, chaining their hands and feet. Along with these three pastors, two other Lao Christian leaders were also arrested. Bounlert, Adang, and Onkaew were detained in Phin district prison, while the other two unnamed Christian leaders were transferred to Savannakhet provincial leaders.

The two unnamed leaders were released on September 13, whereas Bounlert, Adang, and Onkaew continue to be subjected under harsh prison conditions with handcuffs on Bounlert and Adang. Handcuff and foot stock were placed on Onkaew.

On September 13, while the three pastors being detained in district prison, three district police (namely, Mr. Kin, Mr. Phet, and unnamed police) went to their three respective churches and questioned their wives and church leaders. Here are questions that were asked:

Where is the church getting money from?
How much money was used to build the church building?
Who persuaded you to become Christians?
Why do you believe in the Christian faith?
Who first became Christians in your church?
What kind of daily work is your pastor involved in?

 

Currently, all three pastors continue to suffer physically due to their Christian faith and the construction of their houses which are being used for church assembly. Adang and Onkaew are seriously ill due to their health conditions. Family members are seeking permission from the Lao authorities to get them treated at the Savannakhet provincial hospital.

Recent crackdown on Christians in Alowmai church includes: http://hrwlrf.net/pages/Members-of-Lao-Security-Force-Discharged-for-Accepting-Christian-Faith.html | http://hrwlrf.net/pages/Official-Crackdown-on-Lao-Churches-Now-Spreads-to-Phin-District-of-Savannakhet.html

The HRWLRF calls on the Lao government to respect the right of Lao Christians to religious freedom—to adhere to any religion of choice as guaranteed under the Lao constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified by the Lao government—and immediately release Bounlert, Adang, and Onkaew.

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