Christian in Bhutan Imprisoned for Showing Film on Christ

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Joseph C. DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

NEW DELHI, India (Worthy News)-- A court in Buddhist Bhutan sentenced a Christian to three years imprisonment for "attempting to promote civil unrest" by showing films about Christianity.

In October, a court in Gelephu convicted Prem Singh Gurung, a 40-year-old ethnic Nepalese from Sarpang, who was also charged with violating Sections 105(1) and 110 of the Bhutan Information, Communication and Media Act, requiring authorities to screen all films before public presentation.

Gurung was first arrested after residents complained he was showing Christian films between Nepali movies in Gonggaon and Simkharkha villages, which are virtually inaccessible by vehicle.

In Bhutan, Buddhism is the state religion, which the government must protect according to its 2008 constitution.

Christian persecution began in Bhutan in the 1980s with a campaign to "protect the country's sovereignty and cultural integrity." Nepalese charged that the campaign was discriminatory, but authorities responded by forcibly expelling more than 100,000 ethnic Nepalese -- many of whom were clandestine Christians -- to the Nepalese side of the border in Jhapa.