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Published On: Sat, Apr 27th, 2019

Nepal: Pastor Dilliram Paudel, Christians arrested, US citizen Leanna Cinquanta deported for ‘converting through allurement’

On Tuesday, five Christians were arrested at a hotel in Nepal including two foreign citizens from India and the USA. One of the arrested was Pastor Dilliram Paudel, General Secretary of the Nepal Christian Society. The arrests were made without warrant and based on false accusations of inducing fraudulent conversions.

“Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith. The arrested were simply tending to the needs of the Christian community in Nepal. Their right to do so is firmly secured under international law. Anti-conversion laws in Nepal and a restrictive constitution have regularly subjected Christians and members of other religious minorities to arbitrary arrests, criminal charges, and violations of their fundamental rights,” said Tehmina Arora, Senior Counsel for ADF International, south Asia.

The hotel in Ghorahi, Nepal was charged by police officers in an early morning raid. They detained Pastor Dilliram Paudel the General Secretary of the Nepal Christian Society, Gaurav Shrivastava an Indian citizen, Leanna Cinquanta a US citizen, and Kunsang Tamang and Pramid Kafle, both Nepali citizens. They were detained for ten hours and then the American citizen was subsequently deported. They had been scheduled to attend a Christian conference this week but were arrested for allegedly preaching Christianity and converting through allurement.

Nepal photo/ CIA map

In 2018, a change in the criminal code took effect in Nepal increasing the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities markedly. The amendment criminalizes propagating “any religion in such a manner as to undermine the religion of others” or causing others to convert. Overall, the Nepali penal code dedicates an entire chapter to so-called “religious offenses.”

Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International said, “We increasingly see Christians and other religious minorities face persecution and denial of their fundamental rights in Nepal. Sadly, this recent arrest is not an isolated incident but one of many arbitrary arrests in recent years. All people have the right to freely choose, and live out their faith. We urge the Nepali government to uphold this right and do more to protect religious minorities and promote religious freedom.”

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