Be encouraged if you pray for and write to prisoners.
Report from a recent visit to Bhutan…
Tandins initial sentence of four years was reduced to 28 months and he was allowed free eventually on £1,000 bail earlier this year.
The cards he received were a great encouragement and to know folk overseas were praying for him caused him to be overcome with emotion.
Bhutan: Tandin goes free!
05 February 2015
The case against Bhutanese pastor Tandin was dropped after he paid a fine on 19 January.
“Praise the Lord! God answered our prayers. Million thanks for your prayer support!” Tandin says.
Tandin had been accused of presenting a film to the public without permission and illegally soliciting funds. He was arrested along with another pastor, David, after a neighbour complained about a conference they were holding in a house church in March.
They were both found guilty by the Dorokha lower court in September. While David was able to pay a fine in exchange for his prison sentence, Tandin had been sentenced to almost three years in prison with no possibility of a payment in exchange for jail time.
However, after further court hearings, his prison term was reduced to two years, four months – a sentence that the court said could be waived in exchange for a fine of 100,000 Ngultrum, or around £1,000.
Source: Open Doors
- Praise God for Tandin’s freedom
- For God to continue to be at work Bhutan, and for greater freedoms for Christians there.
More News from Bhutan:
- UPDATE – Tandin says “A million thanks for your prayers”
- UPDATE: Tandin’s final appeal postponed
- UPDATE – Rebuttal to Tandin’s appeal
- Pastors await verdict
- Bhutanese pastors released on bail
Find out more about persecution in Bhutan.
Bhutanese pastor Tandin Wangyal. Tandin could be the first Christian pastor in Bhutan to assert his legal rights in a court under a democratic government. The country was ruled by the Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) until 2008, when the king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, changed Bhutan from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one with a democratic parliament. A government body was established to regulate religious organisations but it has yet to recognise Christianity as an official religion, alongside Buddhism and Hinduism.
6 November 2014
Tandin’s final court hearing has been postponed to either 17 or 18 November, as the prosecution was unavailable today. Tandin and his lawyer are thankful to have more time to prepare.
Tandin has also asked us to pray for his eldest son, Kuenrab, who will take his board exam on 20 November.
- For wisdom for Tandin and his lawyer as they prepare for their final appeal
- That the judge will have mercy on Tandin and rule in his favour
- That weaknesses in the charges filed against Tandin will be seen clearly
- That Kuenrab will be able to complete his exam to the best of his ability, even as his father faces these charges.
Bhutanese pastor Tandin Wangyal, accused of presenting a film to the public without permission and illegally soliciting funds, presented his defence before the Samtse Court on 20 October. He told the judge that all Christians in Bhutan were praying for those leading their nation, and that he was ready to lay down his life for his Bhutan.
“Our supreme scripture, the Holy Bible, clearly says in 1 Timothy 2:2 that we are to pray for our rulers, kings and authorities,” said Tandin. “Every Christian in Bhutan, regardless of social background, upholds you [the judge] in prayer. We are not against our king, country, and people.”
He continued: “Our Scripture says in Romans 13:1 that we are to submit to authority. Bhutanese Christians abide by this. Your most honourable judge, I am ready to lay down my life for this nation.”
Tandin refutes charges
Tandin and another pastor, David, were arrested after a neighbour complained about a conference they were holding in a house church in Dorokha in March. David was able to pay a fine, but Tandin has been sentenced to almost three years in prison.
Tandin clarified that he did not present a film in the gathering, but a music video of the song ‘Above All’ to usher the people in to worship.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) asserted, however, that they had found a schedule in Tandin’s hard disk that revealed his plans to show three Christian films in the days to follow. They say the attempt to show these films without permission is punishable by the laws of Bhutan.
Tandin also explained that the funds he is accused of soliciting were not unauthorised from the local people, but rather a gift given in confidence by a good friend whose name translates to ‘public’ in Dzongkha. The OAG didn’t comment further on this.
Churches denied legal status
The judge asked Tandin to produce documents proving that the activities he was administering were registered, but Tandin responded that no church in Bhutan has ever been granted legal status. “There were a couple of times when some Christian leaders tried to register, but nothing concrete has been achieved,” said Tandin. “Recently, some leaders submitted registration documents to the Prime Minister. It was relayed to the Home Minister but no concrete decision has been made, so I will not able to produce these documents in court.”
Tandin’s next hearing will be on 6 November. This will be his last chance to deliver his written rebuttal and oral argument before the judge. Tandin will speak in the morning, and the prosecution will respond in the afternoon.
The court will make its decision by 16 November.
Source: Open Doors