Phin District, Savannakhet Province
Advocacy Alert No. 01/2013
February 7, 2013
The Phin district police of Savannakhet province of Laos arrested and detained three Christian pastors for disseminating Christian religion. The incident took place approximately 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2013, when three Christian pastors took a copy of a movie CD about the End Times to a local shop for making copies. The shop is located in the Phin district market.
After three copies were made, the owner of the shop, along with the three pastors, tested one of the CDs and continued watching it until the end. While they were testing the movie CD, a police came by the shop and saw them viewing it. (Copies of this same movie CD are found in other shops located in other districts in Savannakhet provinced.) The police thus contacted his superior Police Lieutenant Khamvee who was in charge of criminal cases at the Phin district of Savannakhet province.
Afterward, the Police Lieutenant Khamvee accompanied by his two deputies stormed the shop and arrested the three pastors. The shop owner was also taken to the police station for further questioning but he was later released. However, the three pastors are being detained arbitrarily in the Phin district prison. The pastors responded to the police interrogation that they had three copies made so that they could each view it in their own homes, but the authorities insisted that they were spreading the Christian religion that is being portrayed in the movie.
The names and church affiliation of the three pastors are as follows:
1. Mr. Bounma, pastor of Alowmai Village Church, Phin district, Savannakhet province
2. Mr. Somkaew, pastor of Kengsainoi Village Church, Phin district, Savannakhet province
3. Mr. Bounmee, pastor of Savet Village Church, Sepon district, Savannakhet province
The HRWLRF is calling on the Lao government to release the three Lao pastors who are being held in prison arbitrarily for spreading the Christian religion. In addition, the HRWLRF is urging the Lao government to punish the Phin districtâ€™s Police Lieutenant Khamvee and his two deputies for abusing power causing Christians to suffer injustice.