Barnabas, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Barnabas Update – April 14th 2021

Pastor released from prison in Laos

Barnabas Fund, 13 April 2021

The pastor of a church in Savannakhet, Laos was released from prison on 9 April, three days after being convicted of “creating disorder” and “disrupting unity”.

Sithon Thippavong was arrested in March 2020 after being accused of conducting church services without permission.

He was finally convicted on 6 April 2021 and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment; but released on the grounds that he had already been detained for a year prior to his conviction.

Thippavong, who was also fined £310, was arrested after refusing to sign a document renouncing his Christian faith.

“We prayed for Pastor Sithon for more than a year now,” said a Christian in Laos. “We’re very excited that he’s alive … but now he’ll be happy to be able to serve God again.”

There are about 150,000 Christians in Laos. Christians are subjected to harassment and violence despite the constitutional guarantee of “the right and freedom to believe or not to believe in religion” and official recognition of Christianity alongside Buddhism, Islam and Baha’i.

In December 2020 seven Lao Christians, evicted for refusing to renounce their faith in Christ, were denied permission to rebuild their demolished homed in Salavan province.