Nepal: Pastor Sentenced to Jail for Proselytizing

Nepal’s Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of a pastor who was accused of proselytizing.

Pastor Keshav Raj Acharya was sentenced to one year in jail and a $75 fine. His case is the first under a new criminal code that passed in 2018.

Now he fears that his case will become a precedent to imprison other Christians

“The witnesses said that I did not even ask them to convert, only gave them tracts; they read it and discarded it,” Pastor Keshav told Morning Star News. “I have been convicted for something that I have not done.”

“In case someone wilfully converts to Christ, the police and the court will convict the person through whom this believer has heard the message of Christ and His salvation,” Pastor Keshav said. “Where does the police/judiciary draw the line between ‘forced conversion’ and ‘voluntary conversion’?”

Pastor Keshav was first arrested on March 23, 2020, after a video of him preaching that Covid could be healed through prayer was uploaded on YouTube.

He paid the bail but was not released. Then he was charged with “outraging religious feelings” and “attempting to convert” and the bail charged again. He paid it, then was arrested a third time and again paid the bail. He was finally released on June 30, 2020.

The 35-year-old pastor of Abundant Harvest Church is concerned that his absence will affect his young sons who are 5 and 4 years old.

“My children are very close to me. They are used to not seeing me for a few days or a week when I go for ministry trips, but one full year is a long time,” he said.

Pray for Pastor Keshav, his family, and his church to grow spiritually through this trial.

Pray for Christians in Nepal to be emboldened in their faith just like the early Church that faced persecution.