Bhutanese pastor waits

By November 26, 2014
(Photo Courtesy Open Doors USA)

(Photo Courtesy Open Doors USA)

Bhutan (ODM) — Editor’s Note: This story was written by Open Doors USA about the appeal trial of a Bhutanese pastor.

Bhutanese pastor Tandin Wangyal presented his 25-minute defense against the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) before the Samtse Court on October 20, 2014. He is accused of violating Section 105 of the Bhutan’s Communications, Information, and Media Act of 2006 (presenting a film to the public without permission) and Section 70 of the Civil Society Organizations Act (illegally soliciting public funds).

“Most honorable judge, our supreme Scripture, the Bible, clearly says in 1 Timothy 2:2 that we are to pray for our rulers, kings, and authorities,” said Tandin. “Every Christian in Bhutan, regardless of social background, upholds you in prayer.

“We are not against our king, country, or people. Our Scripture says in Romans 13:1 that we are to submit under the given authority,” he continued. “Bhutanese Christians abide by this. Your most honorable judge, I am ready to lay down my life for this nation.”

The OAG gave a rebuttal to his defense on October 27.

In response to the charge under Section 105, Tandin countered that he did not present a movie in the gathering, but a music video of the song “Above All” to usher the people to worship.

The OAG asserted, however, that they have found a schedule in Tandin’s hard disk revealing his plans to show three Christian movies in the days to follow. They say the attempt to show these films without permission is punishable by the Penal Code of Bhutan.

As for the funds he allegedly solicited from the public, Tandin explained that the money in question was not an unauthorized solicitation from the locals, but rather a gift given in confidence by a good friend whose name translates to “public” in Dzongkha. The OAG refrained from further comment on this and decided to leave it to the court.

For further clarification, the judge asked Tandin to produce documents proving that the activities he was facilitating are registered. To this, Tandin responded that no church in Bhutan has ever been granted legal status. “There were a couple of times when some Christian leaders tried to register, but nothing concrete has been achieved,” said Tandin. “Recently, some leaders submitted registration documents to the Prime Minister. It was relayed to the Home Minister, but no concrete decision has been made, so I will not be able to produce these documents in court.”

Tandin’s final hearing was scheduled for November 6, 2014. It was his last chance to deliver his written rebuttal and oral argument before the judge. Tandin was to speak in the morning, while the Evidence Hearing was to be led by the prosecution in the afternoon.

The result was three years in prison.

He appealed, but that verdict has yet to be rendered.

Pray for Tandin and his family to remain steadfast in their faith in God.


  • I want to express my prayers to God on behalf of Pastor Tandin and to commend his steadfast faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. As a church, we are praying for you that God will continue to give him courage and strength in the fact of persecution. We are also praying for his family and friends for encouragement. Let Christians worldwide speak out on behalf of not only Pastor Tandin, but for all under persecution at this time.

  • susan says:

    Pastor Tandin, I am praying for your continued steadfastness in our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us the Holy Spirit as our comforter. I pray for your well being and for the well being of your family and friends. You are an inspiration for me and I want to thank you for humbly sharing the good news of our savior Jesus Christ and for enduring persecution for his Holy name. May You find our Lord in each and every day. susan

  • I am unaware until now of this pastor and his plight and the examples of persecution of Christians in Bhutan. I will pray for his release and endurance and that his court scenes allow him to speak as did the Apostle Paul and hopefully, sow seeds of the Gospel and by God’s supreme intervention by the Holy Spirit lead someone(s) to salvation.

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