Four Christians have been arrested in Nepal, including a United States citizen, months after a controversial law criminalizing religious conversion went into effect in the Asian nation.
On Tuesday morning, police in the city of Ghorahi arrested a Christian society leader, an Indian national, a citizen of Colorado and a Nepali interpreter at their hotel for their alleged involvement in religious conversion by “allurement,” according to the NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
The four of them had attended a one-day pastors’ conference that took place Monday in a local church.
The human rights advocacy group reports that authorities searched hotel rooms and took Bibles, cash, laptops and also cash belonging to the Christians.
According to contacts who spoke with the Christian aid agency Barnabus Fund, police also confiscated a USB device, a vehicle and a nebulizer that aids breathing.
The arrested include Nepal Christian Society General Secretary Dilli Ram Paudel, Indian national Gaurav Sreevastab and Nepali interpreter Kusang Tamang. Although CSW did not name the U.S. citizen, Morning Star News identified the American as Oleana Cinquanta, a resident of Colorado.
Cinquanta told the persecution news outlet that she was held for more than 10 hours without medication and that she was deported to the U.S.
“The allegations are completely false,” Cinquanta was quoted as writing in a text message. “We were not distributing any Bibles or dollars.”
“I was visiting a church program in Dang [district] with my travel agent and some friends,” Cinquanta added. “No one was engaging in conversion.”
A source told the Barnabus Fund that the conference was a training course for pastors.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith