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Christians in Bhutan Running Out of Time


Christians in Bhutan Running Out of Time


WASHINGTON, June 16 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Washington-DC based human
rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.persecution.org
learned earlier in the year that two Christian men in Bhutan were arrested
for showing the Jesus film in a Buddhist home. Recently, they were given
10 days to appeal to the courts for bail to avoid serving 3.5 and
3-year-long prison sentences for showing the Jesus film in a Buddhist
home.

We previously had been asked to keep silent on their case until appeals
were exhausted. These Christians are now asking that their story be
publicized to bring international pressure on the government of Bhutan to
grant their release.

These two men, who were government workers, are Benjamin (Budhu Mani
Dungana) and John (Purna Bahadhur Tamang). They were arrested on January
7, 2006, in the small town of Paro while they were on their way to preach
the word of God to a small group of people. While the Chief Judge for the
district court of Paro did not consider the case serious enough to keep
the men in prison, it was moved to the Crime and Investigation Department
of the Royal Bhutan Police in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital. Lt. Col. Kipchu,
head of the Crime and Investigation Department, is known to be violently
opposed to Christianity, and has dragged the two men from Paro to Thimphu
and back again multiple times and imprisoned them under wretched
conditions.

Benjamin, who is married and has three children, worked as a General Nurse
Midwife (GNM) at Jigme Dorji Wangchuk national referral hospital. John,
who is married with one child, was an Auditor at the Royal Audit
Authority. They were given 10 days to appeal for bail and fight the case
with the help of a prominent lawyer. However, as one source from Bhutan
said, In Bhutan the government is always right, we are always wrong. So
there is very little chance of winning the case unless there is
intervention from [on] high.

ICC urges all concerned Christians to contact the government officials
listed below and politely ask them to release Benjamin and John from
prison. Please do not be forceful or belligerent as such attitudes may
cause the government of Bhutan to harden its stance towards these
prisoners. Most Bhutanese will be able to understand and speak English.

Secretary to His Majesty the King of Bhutan
Dasho Pema Wangchen
Phone: +975-2-322962
Fax: +975-2-323232

Chief Justice of Royal Court of Justice
Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye
Phone: +975-2-322613
Fax: +975-2-322921

Prime Minister of Bhutan
Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup
Email: ngedup@druknet.bt
Phone: +975-2-322129
Fax: +975-2-323153

Minister of Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs
Lyonpo Jigme Y. Thinley
Phone: +975-2-322643
Fax: +975-2-322214


www.bhootan.org attempts to reach out to as many people as possible and
provide information on Bhutan.

Ends

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