Nepalese authorities arrested four people Tuesday and deported a U.S. citizen on allegations of illegally converting people to Christianity by “allurement,” sparking outcry from Christian advocates.
Police officers arrested two men and two women, one of whom is a resident of Colorado, around 8 a.m. Tuesday, a day after the group of four attended a one day conference for pastors with 70 others at a local church, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. . .
Nepal instituted anti-conversion laws in August 2018, which raised concerns with the U.S. State Department as U.S. officials see potential for the law to be used to restrict religious freedoms. Those convicted of proselytizing or converting others to another religion face a penalty of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 rupees.
Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of CSW, also condemned the arrests as harassment and urged Nepalese authorities to release the Christians and drop any charges against them.
“We urge Nepal to respect the right of all religious minorities to practice their faith or belief through worship, observation, teaching and practice,” Thomas said. “Section 158 of the penal code emboldens both state and non-state actors to harass and prosecute innocent people who are simply exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. We call on the police to drop all charges against these Christians and to release them immediately.” (Read more from “Nepal Deports American, Makes Numerous Arrests on Allegations of Converting People to Christianity” HERE)