A Bhutanese pastor has been sentenced to 11 months in prison for receiving donations for his ministry.
Serving in the landlocked country in South Asia located at the eastern end of the Himalayas, Pastor Tandin Yangwal allegedly received $11,864 in contributions from a foreign Christian organization.
"Wangyal was convicted under Article 71 of the Civil Society Organization Act of Bhutan, which outlaws raising funds for activities 'in contravention of the laws of the country' and without prior permission. The pastors were arrested in Khapdani village, Dorokha area in Samtse District, on March 5,” according to the Morning Star News.
Sources claim the Dorokha, Samtse District court ruled Yangwal used the funds for training and to share the Gospel, which is against the law in the Buddhist nation.
The Voice of the Martyrs reports that Christians once enjoyed a “measure of freedom beginning in 1965,” but established tighter restriction in 1990.
VOM’s website states:
“Bhutan’s constitution (2008) and other legislation officially protect religious freedom, but the country’s National Security Act (NSA) prohibits any ‘words either spoken or written, or by other means whatsoever, that promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, race, language, caste, or community, or on any other ground whatsoever, feelings of enmity or hatred between different religious, racial, or language groups or castes and communities.’”
While Yangwal has ten days to refute the ruling, he reported to Morning Star News he has already filed an appeal to the Samtse District Court.
Publication date: September 11, 2014