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For Immediate Release

Christians in Bhutan Running Out of Time to Fight 3.5-Year Prison Sentence


You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address Contact Jeff King President, 301-989-1708, [email protected]

(June 16, 2006) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) learned earlier in the year that two Christian men in Bhutan were arrested for showing the “Jesus” film in a Buddhist home. Recently, they were given 10 days to appeal to the courts for bail to avoid serving 3.5 and 3-year-long prison sentences for showing the “Jesus” film in a Buddhist home.

These two men, who were government workers, are “Benjamin” (Budhu Mani Dungana) and “John” (Purna Bahadhur Tamang). They were arrested on January 7, 2006, in the small town of Paro while they were on their way to “preach the word of God” to a small group of people. While the Chief Judge for the district court of Paro did not consider the case serious enough to keep the men in prison, it was moved to the Crime and Investigation Department of the Royal Bhutan Police in Thimphu , Bhutan ’s capital. Lt. Col. Kipchu, head of the Crime and Investigation Department, is known to be violently opposed to Christianity, and has dragged the two men from Paro to Thimphu and back again multiple times and imprisoned them under wretched conditions.
Benjamin, who is married and has three children, worked as a General Nurse Midwife (GNM) at Jigme Dorji Wangchuk national referral hospital. John, who is married with one child, was an Auditor at the Royal Audit Authority. They were given 10 days to appeal for bail and fight the case with the help of a prominent lawyer. However, as one source from Bhutan said, “In Bhutan the government is always right, we are always wrong. So there is very little chance of winning the case unless there is intervention from [on] high.”

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