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ICC Note: Five Lao Christians will proceed with their appeal of the conviction for the death of a fellow Christian. They asserted they had not withdrawn an earlier appeal, but a false withdrawal had been signed with forged signatures. They had been accused of causing the woman to die by giving her medicine, but they maintain they only prayed for her.

04/27/2015 Laos (CSW) – According to the non-profit advocacy organisation Human Rights Watcher for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF), a false document was submitted to the Appeals Court without the knowledge or consent of the five which stated that they had decided to withdraw their appeal. The five Christians, Pastor Kaithong, Puphet, Muk, Hasadee and Tiang, met with the Prosecutors’ Office at the Appeals Court in Pakse, Savannakhet Province on 24 April to confirm that they intended to move ahead with the appeal. They also asserted that the signatures on the document were not theirs and the Prosecutors’ Office accepted that the document was false.

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 on 21 June 2014. The village chief granted permission for a Christian funeral, but later ordered the proceedings to be stopped. Pastor 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 which caused her death.

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