Source: Yahoo! News
On January 12, 2004 Yahoo! News posted an Agence France Presse article that reported, "Laos has denied claims that 11 Christians were arrested last month for holding religious services over Christmas, saying they were detained for possessing "poisons," Lao state media reported. Lao foreign ministry spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy said the communist regime allowed complete freedom of worship and accused the foreign media, human rights groups and Lao exiles of seeking to create divisions within the country. The Lao Movement for Human Rights claimed that 11 Christians, mostly from the Khmu and Oey ethnic minorities, were arrested on December 27 and 28 in the southern province of Attapeu for holding religious services on Christmas Day. The Paris-based exile group also accused the government of persecuting Christians in the Buddhist-majority country and using 'religious freedom as a currency exchange and a strategy to obtain international assistance.'"