Laos    GOVT FREES DETAINED CHRISTIANS
Laos has freed eight Christians jailed for over a year on charges of causing social division by taking part in a bible study group, a US embassy spokesman said yesterday.
    The eight, all Laotians, were among a group of 44 Christians detained in January last year during a bible study meeting near Vientiane organised by the Evangelical Church of Christ. Five foreigners in the original group -- three Americans, one Thai and one French national -- were initially detained then asked to leave the country.
    Laos, predominately Buddhist, now has 20,000-30,000 active Catholics, more than 200 protestants congregations, four recognised protestant churches, and two recognised protestant sects. Churches and church groups must be recognised by the Religious Affairs Department.
   
    Reuters 1:31pm 11/6/99
 
         
 
 
  
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