Three Christians Detained for “Proselytizing”

Mar 17, 2003 01:29 PM EST

NEPAL – Three Christians in Nepal were detained under proselytism charges. A 34-year-old gospel worker from a church in Pokhara District, his 26-year-old assistant and a 46-year-old retired soldier from the Royal Nepal were stopped by police in the Arlabang village while on their way to visit a Christian family in Pyuthan District.

In response to questioning, the three answered, "We are Christians and are going to meet one of our Christian brothers in the next village, and then we are going to Pokhara to participate in a Christian program."

The police then checked their bags, and upon finding Bibles and other Christian literature, placed the three under arrest and charged them with "carrying Christian literature, preaching Christianity, and attempting to convert others into Christianity;" they were detained 15 days.

During their Feb. 28 hearing in the District Court of Pyuthan, the defendants explained, "We are Christians, but have never forced anyone to convert from their own religion to Christianity."

But the judge ruled them guilty for proselytism. "For now they seem to be attempting to preach Christianity. According to the civil code it is illegal to convert another person from one religion to another, or to preach in such a way as to disturb other religions. So they need to be sent to jail."

An appeal is being made for their case, but if the appeal loses, the brothers face imprisonment of three to six years.

By Pauline J.