ASIA/LAOS – A Christian arrested and mocked by the police because refuses to renounce his faith

Monday, 2 June 2014

Savannakhet (Agenzia Fides) - Five security officers in the village of Loynam, in Nong district in the province of Savannakhet, arrested a Christian man named Sort, they tied him to a pole and then they laughed and kept asking him to give up his Christian faith. The man, who did not give in, is still in prison in Nong. As Fides learns, a year ago, Sort, 40 years old, converted to Christianity, becoming the first Christian in the district of Nong, consisting of about 20 villages.
Fearing the spread of Christianity "like a virus", on May 15 the police went to Sort’s house and ordered him to abandon his faith, threatening to throw him out and confiscate all his property. The man replied: "I chose the Christian faith and I have not broken any law". The agents, after numerous attempts to persuade him to abandon his faith, arrested him on May 29, an act which was totally illegal.
In a note sent to Fides, the NGO "Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom" (HRWLRF) urges the Lao government to release Sort immediately, to punish the abuse carried out by the police and to respect the people's right to religious freedom, guaranteed by the Constitution of Laos.
In previous days, in the same province of Savannakhet, often the scene of violations and abuses against Christians, three students from Laos, aged 14 and 15 were not allowed to take their end of school exams, because of their Christian faith. Christians in the area have appealed to the school authorities of the district, who have opened an investigation. As reported to Fides by HRWLRF, on May 25, in the village of Donpalai, always in the province of Savannakhet, the police raided a prayer center and confiscated 53 Bibles, without any official reason. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 02/06/2014)