Barnabas Briefs: North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan & Laos

June 12, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

NORTH KOREA: SOUTH KOREAN CHRISTIAN SENTENCED TO HARD LABOUR FOR LIFE

South Korean ChristiansA South Korean Christian has been sentenced to hard labour for life for “spying” and attempting to establish house churches in North Korea.

Kim Jung-wook admitted anti-North Korean religious acts and “malignantly hurting the dignity” of the country’s ruling Kim family. Prosecutors demanded the death penalty but this was commuted, as requested by Jung-wook’s defence counsel.

The South Korean was arrested in October, having crossed into North Korea from China. Dozens of North Koreans were subsequently detained, accused of helping Jung-wook. A number of them have most likely been executed.

SYRIA: CHRISTIAN PROPERTY SEIZED BY ISLAMIST MILITANTS IN RAQQA

Syrian ChristiansMilitants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have confiscated houses and land belonging to Christians in Raqqa.

The seizures took place on 1 June in Ein al-Issa, which is inhabited mainly by Armenian Christians. The owners of the property were forced to leave the area.

Raqqa has been under ISIS control for over a year. The militants are imposing strict sharia rules in the territory; earlier this year, Christians were given an ultimatum to either convert to Islam, pay the humiliating jizya tax and abide by a list of restrictions, or else risk being killed.

ISIS has turned the main Armenian church in Raqqa into an office for the management of Islamic affairs and the promotion of sharia.

AFGHANISTAN: CHRISTIAN MINISTER WHO HELPED RETURNING REFUGEES KIDNAPPED

Christians in AfghanistanA Christian minister from India has been kidnapped by a group of unidentified gunmen.

Alexis Prem Kumar (47), who has worked for an NGO in Afghanistan since 2011 helping returning refugees, was seized on 2 June. He was leaving a school near Herat for Afghan children who have recently returned from Iran or Pakistan.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping but three Taliban militants have been arrested in connection with it.

LAOS: CHRISTIAN MAN TIED TO POST AND DETAINED FOR REFUSING TO GIVE UP FAITH

laosA Christian man was arrested and tied to a post before being imprisoned after several failed attempts by the authorities to force him to give up his faith.

Mr Sort (40), who became a Christian over a year ago, was arrested in Loynam village, Nong district, Savannakhet province, on the morning of 29 May.

On 15 May, police and village security officers had gone to Mr Sort’s home and threatened him with eviction from Loynam and confiscation of all his property if he did not give up his faith.

He refused, standing firm despite repeated attempts to coerce him. The village chief then seized 4 million kips (US$500) of Mr Sort’s money.

– barnabas team

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