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Detained Lao Christian pastor released after a year

A Lao pastor who was arrested by the authorities after he refused to cease worship early last year was finally released.


According to Radio Free Asia, an official of the provincial prosecutor’s office told RFA that Pastor Sithon Thippavong, 35, was released on April 9 after being convicted by the Provincial People’s Court on April 6 on charges of “disrupting unity” and “creating disorder.”

“He was sentenced to one year and two months in jail and fined a total of four million kips [U.S. $426], with two million kips paid for each charge,” the official who asked for anonymity said.

He added, “Pastor Sithon has already served a little bit more than a year in prison, so the rest of his jail term will be a two-month suspended sentence.”

A member of Sithon’s church confirmed his release and said that the pastor is travelling back to his home. A thanksgiving ceremony celebrating the pastor’s freedom will be held at his church.

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