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Agoon - Photo: Radio Free Asia www.rfa.org
Photo: Radio Free Asia

Police in southern Laos have allegedly beaten a detained Christian, trying to force him to renounce his faith. The man, Agoon, was cutting timber along with others in a protected forest. According to one source, they were doing so at the request of the village leader.

When confronted by police, the others were allowed to leave. However, Agoon, the only Christian in the group, was arrested and charged with illegal logging. Authorities insist that the timber worker's arrest was unrelated to his religion. Yet, while in custody, the police tried to force him to renounce his faith, beating the unwavering believer harder when he refused. A source who requested anonymity believes that Agoon's detainment for the cutting of timber was merely an excuse, as any arrest made for his Christian beliefs would raise the ire of the international community.

Conflicts between Laos' small Christian community and communist authorities in this predominantly Buddhist nation frequently flare up; Christians want to assert their right to freedom of worship under the constitution, while governing authorities consider Christianity a foreign religion. To learn more about persecution in Laos, go to the country report.

Pray that Agoon will continue standing firm in his faith, regardless of the abuse he has been forced to endure. Ask the Lord to intervene on behalf of this faithful believer, serving as his Defender and Deliverer. Please also uphold other Christians throughout Laos who are facing pressure from governing authorities, as well as the opposing members of their communities. May the message of God's love be consistently expressed in both word and deed through the lives of His people, touching the hearts of many throughout the nation.