Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Agoon, the Lao Christian in an undated photo. RFA

Police have allegedly arrested, beaten and detained a man named Agoon in Savannakhet province in southern Laos for practicing his Christian faith, witnesses told RFA’s Lao Service on Thursday.

Police say that Agoon was arrested for another crime, cutting timber illegally in a protected forest. But local sources say the man was unfairly targeted for his beliefs.


A source who declined to have his name published, told police that he and others cut down trees in the forest at the request of the village leader in the province’s Phin district. But sources say that officials rarely enforce the statutes against illegal logging.

Another source told RFA’s Lao Service in an interview that Agoon’s involvement in the timber-felling is merely an excuse—the other loggers in his group, all of whom are not Christians, were not arrested.


The latest case came to light a week after tree U.S. citizens were held for 10 days on suspicion of disseminating bibles and Christian material without government approval, before being deported to neighboring Thailand. Pixabay

The villager also said that according to the suspect, while in jail, the police tried to force him to renounce his faith, but he refused. The police responded by beating him harder, slapping his ears to the point that he became unable to hear.

RFA contacted a local security official for details, but the official declined to comment on the matter.

“He was detained for cutting timber illegally. Logging in the protected forest is illegal so [that is why] he has been detained,” said an official from the National Front Organization, which handles religious affairs in the communist nation.

“He has to pay a fine or serve jail time according to forest laws. [His arrest] has nothing to do with religion,” the official said.

A third source who requested anonymity agreed with the villager that charging him for cutting timber was an excuse, as an arrest for his beliefs would stroke the ire of international religious freedom organizations.

The latest case came to light a week after tree U.S. citizens were held for 10 days on suspicion of disseminating bibles and Christian material without government approval, before being deported to neighboring Thailand.

Conflicts between Laos’ small number of Christians and local authorities often flare up because believers assert the right to freedom of worship guaranteed by the country’s constitution, while authorities call Christianity a foreign religion in a traditionally Buddhist country, and say that Christians must move out of their villages.

In 2016, six Christians in Savannakhet’s Phalanxay district were arrested after local authorities entered their house and found that they were practicing the Christian faith.


Police have allegedly arrested, beaten and detained a man named Agoon in Savannakhet province in southern Laos for practicing his Christian faith, witnesses told RFA’s Lao Service on Thursday. Pixabay

In 2014, local officials in the province’s Song Khone district arrested 11 Christians for building a temporary church without permission.

Also Read:Twitter Users in US More Likely to be Democrats: Study

In Phin district, seven Christians living in Na Kha Nong village, were arrested in 2015 for gathering people together for a prayer meeting.

The U.S. State Department said in a 2017 report that Lao local authorities often arrested or detained members of minority religions during the year, with a district-level official in Houaphan province expelling 26 Hmong Christians from their village, advising them they could return only if they renounced their faith. (RFA)


Popular

Wikimedia Commons

Amitabh Bachchan, during his speech to the crowd of over 80,000 people at the Reliance Industries' annual event, said that the legacy left by Dhirubhai has had a positive impact on millions of people's lives worldwide.

Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. Not only do fans love Amitabh Bachchan's outstanding performance, but the actor's heartwarming words are also highly regarded. A much moved Amitabh Bachchan, during his speech to the crowd of over 80,000 people at the Reliance Industries' annual event, said that the legacy left by Dhirubhai has had a positive impact on millions of people's lives worldwide.

When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan became bankrupt in the late 1990s, Dhirubhai Ambani stepped forward to give him financial assistance. In his speech, Bachchan remembered that Dhirubhai had sent Anil Ambani to offer him financial assistance during the crisis, which he had respectfully declined. Lenders began knocking on his door, losses mounted, and his bank account dwindled to nothing. He said, "Dhirubhai's money might have gotten me out of the problem quickly. However, I respectfully declined his offer and gradually began to find work again, which let me pay off my debt."

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

Irrespective of the age of your child, it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event.

In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.

Anuja Kapur, Psychologist shares few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:

Every child responds differently to disturbing events:
What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.

a boy crying tears for his loss Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. | Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Andreas Haslinger on Unsplash

European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics - an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), has announced plans for smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices in an effort to reduce waste. In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras, reports The Verge. The decision will have a huge impact on Apple, as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. The proposals only cover devices using wired, not wireless and a USB-C port is only mandatory for devices that charge using a cable.

Different charging cables "Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices | Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Keep reading... Show less