Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pastor sentenced to 3 years in Bhutan prison

Proselytism and incitement to
convert are illegal in Bhutan.
ASSIST News Service is reporting that the Bhutan High Court sentenced Gospel for Asia-supported missionary Ugyen Tashi to three years in prison for “attempting to promote civil unrest” for showing a film about Jesus.

In late May, Tashi walked for two days, carrying a generator and a projector, into interior villages of Bhutan to give people a chance to learn about Jesus. When one of the village chiefs learned of the movie’s content, he informed the chief of his district, who then called the police to arrest Tashi.

After multiple postponements and cancellations, Tashi was taken to court two months after his arrest.

GFA leaders initially met with local officials to appeal for Tashi’s release on bail, but the officials refused their petition, because they considered Tashi’s case very serious and a possible violation of Bhutan’s constitution, which states, “No person shall be compelled to belong to another faith by means of coercion or inducement.”
Tashi was asked to write a statement for the court, but his first statement was considered insufficient. He rewrote his statement nine times, paying $2.50 each time.

On August 17, the court presented all of Tashi’s statements in the presence of the officials and asked Tashi to screen the controversial film on the life of Jesus before the court the following day. Although it was reported that the court officials wanted to watch all the films Tashi had shown before a final verdict was pronounced, not one was shown.

Bhutan’s High Court declared Ugyen guilty and gave him three years in prison.

You can read the full report here.

Please pray for Pastor Tashi while he is in prison. Pray for his health, and that he will be able to effectively minister while he’s behind bars. Pray also for the other believers living in Bhutan. Pray for their protection, strength to endure persecution and discernment on how to share the Good News with those around them.

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