sábado, 26 de janeiro de 2013

Police Laos pastor holds for spreading the Christian faith.

A pastor of 53 years remains behind bars after being arrested by police in Laos, on Wednesday (6) on charges of forcibly convert people to Christianity, said a spokesperson of the NGO Assistance and Human Rights Religious Freedom in Laos - Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).

The arrest of Asa, identified only by this name, occurred around four o'clock, at his home in the village Peeyeur in Luang Namtha province, according HRWLRF. Police then led to the arrest Asa Luang Namtha province, about 50 km from his village, far enough to prevent visits from family or friends, due to limited access to road transport.

If the legal procedure was followed, said HRWLRF, the police would have kept Asa in prison for three days, while investigating the charges against him.

On Thursday (7), Khamla, a prominent Christian leader in the province, met with police and found that Asa had been accused of converting people to Christ.

There, two years ago, police were forced to sign documents Asa, agreeing that he would stop proclaiming Christ and to induce people to accept it. This year, however, many people from the village Peeyeur, neighbors and residents, touched by the life and witness of Asa accepted Christ.

Church leaders say that local authorities intend to eliminate Christianity from Luang Namtha, in an effort to protect the region as world heritage. They use the arrest of six Thai Christians, caught preaching in the province, on March 24, as an example, the six were released in early June, after several weeks of detention.

Authorities in Luang Prabang, a neighboring province, summoned two Christian leaders and about 80 Christians in the village Hueysell in January, and ordered them to abandon their faith or were driven from their homes. So far the authorities have not put their threats into practice.

The Constitution of Laos and other regulations, such as a 2002 decree on religious practice (known as Decree 92), theoretically, protect freedom of belief and worship for all religions, but officials of villages, districts and provinces, often flout these laws and yet go unpunished.