Lao Christian Prisoners and Families Threatened with Longer Imprisonment After Appealing Verdict

Kaysone Phomvihane, Savannakhet Province
Advocacy Alert No. 03/2015
March 12, 2015

On March 6, 2015, a legal representative of the five Lao pastors (prisoners) filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal in Pakse via the People’s Court of Savannakhet province. The five prisoners, namely Puphet, Kaithong, Muk, Tiang and Hasadee, made a decison to appeal the verdict of the People’s Court of Savannakhet province with the Court of Appeal because the verdict did not have factual and legal basis. On February 12, 2015, the People’s Court of Savannakhet Province founded the five guilty of violation of a medical law and thus handed down a sentence of nine months in prison and huge fines. By praying for healing for a five-year-long sick and dying elderly woman who later died after being admitted and treated medically at the hospital, the five were found guilty of conducting treatment without proper medical authorization, causing the death of the elderly woman. In deciding the case, the People’s Court of Savannakhet province equated healing prayer with medical treatment, thus requiring medical authorization from the Ministry of Health.

After filing an appeal with the Court of Appeal, family members were threatened by local authorities in Savannakhet province that the prison terms of their loved ones would now be extended to three years because the appeal was filed. The families are being pressured by authorities to withdraw the appeal or face hardship and their loved ones in prison would not see their freedom for years.

The HRWLRF urges the Lao government to deal harshly with Lao authorities who have violated or abused the law, causing hardship to come to the five pastors and their families. In addition, the HRWLRF urges that due legal process and fair legal representation be given in a timely manner to these five prisoners and their families so that justice would be served.


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