Bhutanese Christian serving three years for showing film about Jesus

A human rights organisation has learned that Bhutanese police are preparing to arrest two more Christians for their involvement in showing a movie about Jesus.

Bhutan is a small country in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by India and to the north by China.

International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that Prem Singh Gurung has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for showing the film. He has been jailed in the town of Gelephu.

On October 22, ICC wrote a letter to the representatives of Bhutan at the UN protesting the sentencing of Gurung.

ICC said that Gurung has the right, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to express his religious beliefs. That includes the right to receive and exchange information and ideas through any media.

In response to the letter, Bhutanese officials defended the sentencing, saying that while they respect the freedom of religion, "no person shall be compelled to belong to another faith by means of coercion or inducement."

ICC said officials haven't demonstrated any evidence of forceful conversion by Gurung.

ICC's Regional Manager for South Asia, Jonathan Racho, said in a news release, "We strongly condemn the Bhutanese government for imprisoning Mr Gurung for three years for showing the film, and hunting down two more Christians for participating in showing the film.

"We once again call upon the government of Bhutan to show their commitment to the international human rights law by releasing Gurung and not imprisoning the other two Christians."