By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News)-- Five church leaders in Laos were convicted last week of being "illegal doctors" after they prayed for a sick woman who later died, according to Morning Star News.
Held in stocks after their arrest last June, the five Christians are currently imprisoned at Savannakhet Provincial Prison.
The People's Court of Savannakhet Province sentenced the five to nine months in prison and fined them all a total of 15 million kips (US$1,836) in emotional damages and 5 million kips (US$612) each for funeral expenses.
The deceased woman had been ill for years; various healers had treated her without success when she requested prayer from five Christian pastors who then prayed for her for two days.
On the day the woman died, her family received permission from the Saisomboon village chief to hold a Christian burial ceremony on private property as Christians are denied burial rights in the village cemetery. However, the chief suddenly reversed his decision and banned the burial ceremony until the family recanted their Christian faith, which they refused to do.
Buddhists make up more than 57 percent of the population; only 3.4 percent of the population is Christian.