LAOS: Five Christian leaders to be released soon
Five Christian leaders in southern Laos were charged with medical malpractice and sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment last year for praying for an ill believer who died. Now the men are expected to appeal the court’s decision. Sources told CSWHK that the men have already been in jail for eight months so they may be released in a month’s time. Alternatively, the authorities may not count the eight months as time already served, yet may allow them to do the ninth month under “village arrest”, so the men could return home even earlier.
A criminal tribunal of the People’s Court of Savannakhet province had delivered its verdict on 12 February, convicting the Christians under Article 82 of the Lao penal code, “Performance of Medical Profession without License”, and sentencing them for “being illegal doctors”, according to an English language translation of the court decision. The Court also fined them all a total of 15 million kips (US$1,836) for emotional damages and 5 million kips (US$612) each for funeral expenses of the deceased believer.