Police in Laos Arrest Four Christians During Worship

Police in Laos arrested a grandmother and three other Christians while they were worshipping last month, according to an advocacy group.

Raiding a church service in Keovilai village, Vilabouly District in Savannakhet Province, local police on Nov. 18 arrested the 78-year-old woman identified as Grandma Bounlam and three men identified by the surnames Duangtha, Khampan and Ponsawan, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).

The four Christians have since been released, an HRWLRF source told Morning Star News. The three men had been held in handcuffs and feet stocks. Bounlam was released for medical treatment for a heart condition.

Police also evicted them from their homes and property, according to an HRWLRF press statement.

Villagers said the worshippers were arrested for believing in Jesus Christ, according to the rights group, and they face the threat of unspecified criminal charges. Area Christians said police have threatened more severe punishment if the Lao Christians do not renounce Christianity, which is considered an enemy of the single-party, Marxist-Leninist country, according to the HRWLRF.

The three officers who made the arrests were identified by their surnames as Don, a police major stationed at Vilabouly District, and two police officers stationed in Vang District, Pim and No.

HRWLRF urged the Lao government to punish the three police officers who acted illegally in arresting the four Christians, according to the press statement, and called for their homes to be restored to them.

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Source: Christian Headlines