Myanmar Military Drops Criminal Complaint Against Baptist Pastor Who Told Trump About Country’s Persecution of Christians

Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, leader of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) at Myitkyina Court on September 9 (Photo : Sai Latt Aung)

The Myanmar military has dropped a criminal complaint against a Baptist leader who told President Donald Trump in July that the Christian community has been “oppressed and tortured” by the Southeast Asian country’s military government.

Radio Free Asia reports that judge Than Tun of the Myitkyina Township Court announced Monday that Lt. Col. Than Htike of the northern command has submitted a request to withdraw a criminal lawsuit he lodged against Rev. Hkalam Samson, president of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC).

As a result, the court will not proceed with a prosecution of Samson for alleged criminal defamation.

Samson’s Kachin Baptist Convention has provided aid and shelter to thousands of people displaced by the violence between the military and rebel fighters in the northern Kachin state.

As advocates have long spoken out about abuses committed against civilian communities in Kachin, Samson traveled to Washington, D.C. this summer to take part in the State Department’s second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom and spoke out about the suffering Christians in Kachin are facing.

The ministerial featured persecuted believers, human rights activists and political leaders from across the globe.

During the three-day ministerial in July, a group of nearly 30 survivors of religious persecution took a trip to the White House and participated in a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office. The meeting was broadcasted on the internet for the world to see and Samson was among the many survivors who got a few words in with Trump during the meeting.

“I’m … from Baptist Convention from Northern Burma.  And then, as Christians in Myanmar, we are very been oppressed and tortured by the Myanmar military government,” Samson said.

“And then, we don’t have chance, many, for religious freedom. And also, ethnic armed groups fight against the central military government. So, please, American government focus on ethnic people and the ethnic leader to get general democracy and federalism.”

Samson also thanked Trump for his administration issuing sanctions against Myanmar Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and other military leaders responsible for the human rights abuses committed against the Rohingya Muslim community in the Rakhine state in 2017. Many have called the military’s abuses against the Rohingya community a “genocide.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith