Thursday, December 22, 2011
Communists in Laos Arrest Christians at Christmas Celebration
(Vientiane) On the 16th of December 8 leading personalities of the Christian community were imprisoned. They are accused of having "organized" religious services in which more than 200 Christians participated. Human rights organizations are noting the uncertain fate of eight Christians, who must bring in Christmas in Laotian prisons.
High ranking police officials have convened in the municipality of Boukham in the Province of Savannakhet, in order to await the decision of local authorities as to how they will proceed. The human rights organization, Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF)report that the imprisoned Christians had received permission from the mayor to continue with the Christmas celebration. During the service the police stormed the building and arrested those responsible. For of them were blind folded at arrest and led away in hand cuffs. Since then they found themselves in jail. An arrest warrant with the precise information what the charges are is not available. A speaker for the HRWLRF explained that it is "from the the connection in any case, obvious", that they were arrested, "because they had gathered at a religious celebration."
On December 18th some representatives of the Evangelical Church in Laos succeeded in reaching the jail where some of the prisoners were held. Kingsamorsorn was released with bail of 1 Million Kip. In order to compare, the average wage of the of a worker in Laos is 300,000 Kips (or 40 Dollars).
The result of the meeting between police officials and local authorities is currently unknown. As the prisoners were led away, they were put in handcuffs.
Laos is ruled by a Communist regime. Two thirds of the population is Buddhist, around 0.7 percent of the six million inhabitants are Catholics. The Christians of the country are increasingly persecuted and have their religious freedoms curtailed. In February 2011 65 farmers had their sustenance revoked. They were being persuaded through hunger to reject Christianity.
Link to related story, here
Translated from katholisches, original here.