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Mournful Christmas in Laos: Murder of a Christian Official near Paksane

Lao Movement for Human Rights (12/30/05)

The 2005 Christmas celebration by the Christian community in Laos was plunged into mourning by the murder of a Protestant Evangelist official, Pastor Aroun VORAPHOM, a few hours after he presided over a prayer session on Thursday 22 December, held in a church in Pakading, near Paksane, Bolikhamsai province (Central Laos), according to reliable information which reached the Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR) today.

According to this information, after having led the religious service with the Christians from Pakading, Pastor Aroun set towards his village of Houay-Siet , located 40 kilometres further North, to celebrate Christmas with his family. After having vainly waited for his arrival until the morning of Friday 23 December, his closed ones searched for him and found his body, which had been abandoned near a stream. The Pastor was struck several times with a knife in the heart area, and his head was severed. His face was swollen and bore the marks of having been beaten. His funeral was held on December 24th, on Christmas Eve.

The LMHR expresses its deepest feelings and strong indignation to the murder of Pastor Aroun VORAPHOM, and offers its most sincere condolences and sympathy to his family, his close ones, and to the whole of the Evangelist Christian community in Laos .