Three Lao Pastors Released from Prison
March 8, 2013
Three Laos pastors who were arrested Feb. 5 on charges of “disseminating Christian religion” have been released and are back home with their families.
Christian Aid Mission staff received the news March 8 in an email from a spokesperson for the advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).
“Thanks for your prayers for the three Laos pastors. We rejoice today that all of them have been released,” the spokesperson wrote. They have returned home to join with their families. Thanks for your prayers and advocacy.”
The pastors were imprisoned for more than four weeks after they were seen in a store getting copies made of a Christian movie about the end times. After making three copies of the video, the shop owner and the pastors tested one of the DVDs. While they were viewing the video, a policeman entered the shop and saw them. He contacted his superior, and moments later three officers stormed the shop and arrested the three pastors.
The pastors, Mr. Bounma, Mr. Somkaew, and Mr. Bounmee, all of the Savannakhet province, were interrogated and told police the three copies were made so they could view the DVDs in their own homes. Authorities insisted their intent was to spread the Christian religion through distribution of the movie. The shop owner was also questioned but later released.
Although religious rights are protected by the Laos constitution, discrimination and persecution of Christians remain commonplace. Christian Aid Mission supports the evangelistic efforts of Lao ministries and gives aid to believers who are forced out of their homes and villages.
- For the police officers and others who came to know the pastors during their incarceration to be drawn to Christ and experience changed hearts
- For protection for Laos church planters as they travel to remote villages to share the love of Jesus among unreached tribal groups