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Laos: Two Christians Arrested by Police During Raid

Human Rights Group Says Arrest Is “Illegal and Unconstitutional”

Two Christians were arrested by the police in the province of Khammouan, in the East of Laos, on charges of alleged proselytizing.

According to Fides news agency, the police broke into the house of a Christian in the village of Nong-hang, and arrested 43-year-old Bountheung Phetsomphone, a Christian leader from another village, and 40-year-old Neuy, who also lived in a nearby village.

Local NGO “Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom” (HRWLRF) stated that  Bountheung had gone to visit some Christian families in the village of Nong-hang and the faithful started to pray at home. Then the police broke into the house.

The District Police have been monitoring the growth of Christianity in the area since 2008. Informed of the arrival of Christian leader Bountheung, the agents launched the raid which, according to HRWLRF, “is totally illegal and unconstitutional”.

Bountheung has already been under surveillance since 2012, when 300 people converted to Christianity, after listening to his experience and testimony. He had already been arrested in August 2012 and then released. Even Neuy had the same problems in the past, controlled by the police on suspicion that he wanted to spread the Christian faith.

The HRWLRF urged the Lao government to “respect the right of the people of Laos to religious freedom, guaranteed by the Constitution” and to stop the abuse of power by the police in the district.

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