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Laos: Christian Pastor Tortured and Killed For His Faith

The constitution of Laos ostensibly protects the freedom of religion. Nonetheless, Christians in Laos remain subject to harassment by people hostile to the faith, as well as local officials.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Laos, see here.

“Pastor in Laos Was Tortured and Killed, Sources Say,” Morning Star News, November 14, 2022:

(Morning Star News) – The body of a pastor with an officially recognized church in Laos was found last month with signs that he was tortured and killed for his faith, area sources said.

Christian leaders and police in central Laos’ Khammouane Province believe Pastor Seetoud, who went by a single name, was killed for spreading the gospel amid rapid church growth in the country.

The pastor had been expected to attend a meeting of Christians on Oct. 20 in Thakhek, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from his home in Don Keo village, Nakai District, Khammouane Province, a journey of three and a half hours on his motorbike. When he failed to arrive more than three hours after the start time for the meeting, more than 20 people searched for him on the mountain pass near Don Keo village and at a local hospital, without success.

The search party also obtained CCTV footage from a local store owner in nearby Nakai showing that Pastor Seetoud on Oct. 21 dropped off a plastic gas container that he intended to pick up later, area Christians said.

An area resident later found Pastor Seetoud’s body in a ditch off a mountainous jungle road near the village and uploaded photos of the scene to Facebook, enabling the search party to find the corpse on Oct. 23.

Two Christians who had planned to leave their village and join Pastor Seetoud for the meeting in Thakhek said he was delayed because two unidentified officials questioned the church leader about his activities and reasons for travel to the town.

A witness from nearby Wangheen village told villagers that he stopped on the road when he saw a black truck with no license plates on Oct. 20, the day the pastor headed for the meeting. He said three men got out and seized another man, violently dumped him into the truck and drove away.

The witness said he assumed the authorities were arresting a drug dealer/criminal and decided to continue his journey. When he later heard about Pastor Seetoud’s death, he told villagers that it was the pastor who was abducted.

Christian leaders said Pastor Seetoud’s body was severely disfigured and showed signs of torture. The search party found Pastor Seetoud’s Bible near his body and his motorcycle nearby on the road.

He leaves behind a wife and eight children, the youngest a 1-year-old. Pastor Seetoud led a congregation of the Lao Evangelical Church, one of three officially recognized denominations in Laos along with the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Christian leaders said provincial police have told them Pastor Seetoud was likely killed because of his faith. Police officials at the provincial level suspect local officials at the district level killed him, according to LEC leaders….

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