Five Christians, cleared of murder charges related to the death of a Christian convert from an unidentified long-term illness on 21 June 2014, have been found guilty of causing death by “performance of the medical profession without a license” after praying for her.
According to the non-profit advocacy organisation Human Rights Watcher for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF), on 12 February 2015, the People’s Court of Savannakhet Province based the decision to convict the Christians on Article 82 of the Lao Penal Code, Performance of Medical Profession without License. The Article prohibits the treatment of patients without an official license for the purpose of generating gains; where the offender has caused a patient to become an invalid or to die, the offender shall be punished by three months to five years of imprisonment and fined 500,000 to 5,000,000 Lao Kip ($80 – $780).
The five Christians, Pastor Kaithong, Puphet, Muk, Hasadee, and Tiang, were originally accused of murdering Mrs Chan, a convert to protestant Christianity. She was suffering from an unidentified two-year illness when she died en route from hospital back to her home in Atsaphangthong district.
The village chief granted permission for a Christian funeral, but later ordered Pastor Kaithong, who was conducting the funeral, to stop the proceedings. Kaithong appealed to the chief of Atsaphangthong district, but on 23 June 2014, the village chief and the police authorities arrested Kaithong and the four other Christians. They were accused of giving Chan medication on the journey back from the hospital which caused her death. However, in August 2014, Savannakhet Office of Prosecutors ruled that the five did not commit any criminal offence.
The accused maintain that they did not use any drug or material remedy, but only prayed for Mrs Chan in accordance with her request for prayer for healing. Furthermore, according to HRWLRF, Mrs Chan’s death did not occur at the location where the five were praying for her, but en route from the hospital in Savannakhet.
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- Pray the Lord will uphold these believers, giving them the courage and determination to stay strong and not to despair over their current situation.
- Pray for those in authority over this case; may they be intent on pursuing justice.
- Ask the Lord to use this case for His glory throughout Laos; may many who have never heard the Gospel now have an opportunity to learn of these believers and the love they have for the Lord.