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Three pastors released from prison in Laos

Three Christian pastors – arrested on 5th February on charges of “spreading the Christian religion” in relation to reproducing a DVD of a Christian film – have been released from jail, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The organisation has confirmed that all three pastors have been returned to their families.

The three pastors – Bounma, Somkaew and Bounmee – were arrested after a police officer saw them copying and watching a DVD about the “End Times” in a copy shop.

The pastors claimed the three copies were for their own use, but authorities insisted that they were “spreading the Christian religion” through the film. The shop keeper and one of the pastors were released soon after their arrest but the two other pastors were detained and one of them, Pastor Bounma was alleged to have been beaten while in custody.

Andrew Johnston, CSW”s advocacy director said the organisation welcomed the release of the pastors.

“However, we remain deeply concerned about the false allegations against the three men and about the use of torture to extract a confession,” he said. “We urge the Lao authorities to protect the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and to ensure that detainees are not subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in line with the Lao government”s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”




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