Pastor’s Daughter in Laos Trapped with Dilemma

By ICC’s Intern for Southeast Asia R.R  

05/27/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Communist nations in South East Asian countries are persecuting Christians because they consider Christianity a threat to their countries. Laos, for instance, has made anyone who is a Christian, a government target. Recently, the Lao government has targeted Nang Tookta Phetsomphone, who is pending trial for the killing of her Chinese employer when he attempted to rape her. Her family is put in an impossible situation by the district of Khamkuet in Bolikhamxay Province, refusing to release her unless they renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.

Pastor Bountheung Phetsomphone, her father, is an influential pastor in Laos. He is currently the leader of the Nongpong village church and was arrested twice. On August 22, 2012, the village evicted his family; their community also refused 300 other Christian residents the right to continue their residence unless they renounce their faith. On September 2, 2015, five police officers broke into a Christian family’s home and detained him and another leader for “spreading the Christian faith.”

Their witnessing resulted in many people converting to Christianity.  The Geneva Human Rights Hearing against the Government of Laos mentioned Pastor Bountheung because of how the government has treated him for his evangelism. His resilience has stood sturdy for years, until now.

His daughter, Nang Tookta, was an employee for a Chinese national store owner in the Khamkuet District. Because her boss stopped paying her wages, she resigned. One month later, she was lured back by a phone call to negotiate the payments he owed her. Upon arrival, she was pushed into a restroom, overpowered, and threatened with a knife. Fighting for her life, she got a hold of the blade and killed him.

Tookta immediately called the neighbors and villagers and reported the incident. However, she was detained ever since that day, moving from the district jail to the provincial prison, in which the provincial jail did not file charges.

Be that as it may, the district where Tookta’s father experienced persecution refuses Tookta’s release or to drop the case. The district authorities are using her situation as leverage against the whole family, explicitly targeting Pastor Bountheung. Only when they renounce their faith and pay a fine of US$11,000, will they “consider” releasing her.

Their treatment is punishment for the pastor’s beliefs and ministry. The district is making an example of Pastor Bountheung, and in doing so, exploiting his daughter’s trauma.

ICC is publicizing her case to spread awareness and increase pressure on the district to release her or reduce the fine. Please pray for Nang Tookta’s pending trial, for her family, who are put in an impossible situation by the Laos district of Khamkuet.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.

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