Laotian Believers Arrested for 'Believing and Worshipping God'

July 28, 2008

Although the constitution of Laos guarantees freedom of religion and worship, some Lao authorities continue to exercise their power at will.

On Sunday, July 20th at 10:00 a.m. ten district police authorities stormed into the Boukham Church and ordered the believers to cease their worshipping God or else they would face arrest and imprisonment. When believers refused to comply with the order, the ten police commenced to arrest five church leaders. The pastor, three church leaders, and one young lady, were treated as criminals, as they were carried away from their church and families to the Lao prison in Dong Haen. When they arrived at the prison, they underwent further humiliation by being placed in foot stocks. The names of these individuals have been withheld, but their circumstances are quite similar:

The pastor has nine people living in his household, who rely solely on him for leadership and provision. He is the head of his family and also a Christian leader at his village church. His father-in-law is handicapped and needs daily help from others.

Another church leader has seven members living in his household. Formerly, he was a government official, but soon after becoming a Christian he lost his job. Without any means of livelihood, he took odd jobs to provide for his family, but the situation was dire.

Just as mysteriously, they were released two days later – no reason was given for their release.