Arrested: November 2007
On June 10, a Chinese court sentenced Christian bookstore owner, Shi Weihan, 38, to three years in prison for "illegal business operations," and imposed a US$21,975 fine, according to China Aid Association. Shi Weihan operated a legal bookstore and only sold books with the government's approval. His Holy Spirit Trading Company printed Bibles and Christian literature and distributed them freely to local house churches. Weihan was arrested in November 2007 for printing and distributing Bibles and other Christian literature.More Info... Prisoner Archives
Many have prayed long and faithfully over the last 11 years for the prisoners in Chiapas, Mexico who were falsely accused of a massacre in Acteal in December 1997. On Thursday, Aug. 13, approximately 20 of the Acteal prisoners, mostly evangelical Christians, were released following Mexicos Supreme Court ruling that they had been convicted in unfair trials.
Father we give thanks for their release and continue to pray for these men as they re-enter a community where they continue to be subject to persecution. We ask for the safety and encouragement of their families and also for the prisoners who remain in custody. Today we stand with our brothers and sisters in India and will continue to pray faithfully for them as well. Giving all the glory to You!
Praying with you,
The Prayer Force Team
China Aid Association staff recently delivered more than 100,000 signatures to the Chinese Embassy, requesting the release of Gao Zhisheng. They were allowed inside the embassy, but when embassy officials saw the petition they told the China Aid staff to leave and the authorities refused to accept the petition. We encourage you to continue praying and writing Gao. Also, write to the Chinese government requesting he be released.
Arrested: June 2009
Asia is the wife of 50-year-old Ashiq Masih, and their family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families. Many of the local women work on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees, including Asia. During their work many of the Muslim women have pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. In June, the pressure became especially strong. On Friday, June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith, with the Muslim women telling Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling them about her faith in Christ.More Info... Prisoner Archives
Two Iranian Christian Women Still Held in
Maryam Rustampoor, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, were arrested and sent toin Tehran, Iran. The two women did not rob a bank, kill a man or beat up someone.
Their crime? Loving Jesus. And it is for this reason alone they are still imprisoned.
In August during a court hearing, the two were questioned repeatedly about their faith. They were told to return to Islam.
"We love Jesus," was their reply. Prosecutors asked the women, who had already spent five months in prison, if they regretted being Christians.
"We have no regrets," they said. "We will not deny our faith."
The judge sent them back to Evin Prison - notorious for its brutality - to "think about" their decision.
"We have already done our thinking," they told him.
Maryam and Marzieh are among dozens of Iranian Christians arrested, detained or interrogated in Iran in recent months. The harassment is the radical Islamic government's response to an Iranian revival that has thousands of Iranians coming to Christ each month.
The in many ways, including supporting gospel television broadcasts transmitted into Iran and printing helps the Iranian churchChristian literature for distribution inside the country.
This month we invite you to make a special contribution in support of our work with Iranian believers. In addition, VOM just released Restricted Nations: Iran, a new book about Christ followers in Iran. This book can help you understand the history of the church in Iran and offer an effective way to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters living there today.
» PLEASE CLICK HERE for more information and to make your contribution or to purchase the book.
September 30, 2009
Dear Donna,Prison Terms Upheld for Two Christians in Ethiopia
An Ethiopian court last week (Sept. 21) threw out an appeal by two evangelists thus upholding their six-month prison sentences.
In July Temesgen Alemayehu and Tigist Welde Amanuel went to Debiretabor, Amhara state, to plant a church. After a week in the area, according to area Christian sources, their proclamation of Christ led several people to confess their sins and receive Him as Savior. Some passersby however began to question the two evangelists; a heated argument then led a group to attack them.
According to Compass News police later submitted the attackers false statements to district prosecutors stating that the evangelists offered money and gifts to make converts. Alemayehu said that his only sin was telling of his faith in Christ to interested persons. The next day, the court delivered a guilty verdict. There is an open conspiracy between judges, police and prison officers, the church leader said. Police speeded up the investigation and brought it to the district prosecutors attention within a day. Alemayehu and Amanuel are currently serving a six-month sentence.
Father, we lift up these two precious saints to Your loving care. Just as Paul while in prison said to the guard, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31), we pray for the same boldness and witness for our brother Alemayehu and sister Amanuel
Continued Prayers for our Imprisoned Brethren in Ethiopia
Last month we lifted up in prayer two Christians held in an Ethiopian prison on false charges of bribing people to convert to Christianity. Compass Direct News reports that although they successfully appealed to the State Supreme Court in Bahir last week, new charges have been waged against them of insulting the Ethiopian Orthodox Church while in prison. They are scheduled to be in court today (October 14) to face these new charges that have been brought against them.
we do not know yet the result of today's trial in Ethiopia. Whether
they are released or remain in prison, thank you that they have true
freedom in You and that Your Word will continue to be proclaimed, in
prison and out.
Alimujiang Yimiti, a Chinese house church leader, has already been in prison for more than two years. On Nov. 7, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for "providing state secrets to overseas organizations," according to China Aid Association. Neither his lawyers nor his family expected such a harsh sentence. Please send Yimiti a to let him know you are praying for him. Tell your friends about Christians who are suffering in China, and encourage them to pray for and write to Yimiti.
Your letters make a difference; they can result in shorter prison sentences for those accused. Write to Yimiti and let him know you are praying.
Please send a letter of encouragement to Father Van Ly, letting him know you are praying for him. Also pray for his persecutors. Tell your friends about Christians suffering in Vietnam, and encourage them to pray for Father Van Ly and to write to him as well.
Father Nguyen Van Ly
Christians Jailed, Believers' Homes Destroyed in Chiapas
In a series of incidents in the Chiapas region of southern Mexico, Christians have been arrested and jailed, and homes and buildings belonging to Christian families destroyed by leaders of the local community. Local leaders have harassed Christians for months, telling the believers that they need to leave their new faith and return to traditional beliefs. On January 17, eight believers were arrested on the charge that it is a legal violation to not support traditional events and that this is a sign that the Christians don't care about their community.
After being held in custody for 24 hours the men were released. Open Doors staff are now working to help those involved and have filed a case at the local Office for Indigenous Justice in San Cristobal de Las Casas.
Lord, we pray for justice in Chiapas. For those who have lost their homes we pray for shelter. Soften the hearts of local authorities toward the Christians and bring about reconciliation.
Praying with you,
The Prayer Force Team
Christian shopkeeper Imran Masih, last July, was falsely accused of desecrating the Quran. reports that a neighboring shopkeeper accused Masih of tearing out pages of the Quran and burning them. Masih explained to investigators that the papers were a heap of old records he had gathered while cleaning his store. Family members said that the neighboring shopkeeper had fabricated the blasphemy case against him because of a business dispute. Sadly, two weeks ago, 22 year-old Masih was sentenced to a life term in prison and fined more than $1,000.
Father, our hearts break over this conviction. Encourage him, strengthen him. Bring about justice. While others mean it for harm, we call on You to work it out for the good both of Masih and Your church in Pakistan.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) The U.S. and Haitian governments are holding talks on the fate of 10 American missionaries accused of illegally trying to take children out of the quake-hit Caribbean country, U.S. Secretary ofsaid on Wednesday.
Haitian authorities said they would decide on Thursday whether to pursue a case against the missionaries, who were arrested on Friday trying to cross into the Dominican Republic from with a busload of 33 children they said were orphaned by the January 12 quake.
Haiti's prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, said on Wednesday the death toll from the quake exceeded 200,000 people, raising previous estimates of 150,000 to 200,000 dead.
In Washington, Clinton said for the first time the two governments were discussing the missionaries' case, which is diplomatically sensitive because the United States is heading a massive relief operation after the earthquake wrecked the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed up to 200,000 people.
"We are engaged in discussions with the Haitian government about the appropriate disposition of their cases," she said.
The State Department, which has been at pains to avoid any impression it might be interfering in the matter, said on Tuesday it had not been involved in any broad discussions about the missionaries' case or any possible prosecution.
The accused missionaries vehemently deny they were engaged in. They said they were just trying to help some of the thousands of orphans left destitute and abandoned by the quake.
"It was unfortunate, whatever the motivation, that this group of Americans took matters into their own hands," Clinton said.
'VICTIMS OF SCAM'
Haitian officials said the detained Americans, most of whom belong to an Idaho-based Baptist church, had no documents proving the children were orphans and no official permission to take them out of the country, which meant the group faced possible kidnapping charges.
But a Haitian lawyer hired to represent the missionaries said on Wednesday the Americans "were the victims of a scam."
Attorney Edwin Coq said the scheme was orchestrated by a local pastor who claimed his orphanage had been destroyed in the quake and he had no means to continue feeding or housing the 33 children.
"The Americans are missionaries, they were naive. They had no idea they were violating the law. They were acting in good faith and they just wanted to help," Coq told reporters.
Five of the missionaries were questioned by a judge on Tuesday and the remaining five gave testimony on Wednesday, the prosecutor in the case, Mazarre Fortil, told Reuters.
"Tomorrow, my decision will be known. Tomorrow, everybody will know what we decide," Fortil said.
Bellerive said the case was stealing attention from the plight of Haitians.
"I believe it's a distraction for the Haitian people because they are talking more now about 10 people than they are about 1 million people suffering in the streets," he said.
Speculation about the case has increased after evidence emerged that most of the children intercepted with the missionaries were not orphans. Haitian police say some parents admitted to handing over their children to the American Baptists in the belief they would get an education and a better life.
Haiti's government has tightened adoption procedures since the quake, saying it feared unscrupulous traffickers could try to take advantage of the disaster by spiriting away vulnerable children. Officials said they have already had reports of trafficking of minors, and even of human organs.
The U.S. public, which has donated tens of millions of dollars to the Haiti relief effort, is following the case of the detained Americans closely.
Ordinary Haitians expressed mixed views about the controversy, which highlights the extreme poverty of the most underdeveloped
Continued Prayer for Eritrean Prisoners
In February of this year, there was a call to prayer for prisoners in Eritrea... the arrests however continue to escalate.
On March 27, military officials arrested 17 more Christian men that were gathered for prayer in a town called Segenaite in southern Eritrea. Then on Friday, April 2, 25 more Christians were arrested, all members of the Asmara Full Gospel Church and include an unknown number of women. This is now the third reported arrest of a group of Christians in less than a month.
Sources announced in February that approximately 2,200 Christians remain in prison for their refusal to stop practicing their faith outside of the government-sanctioned churches. recently received the translation of a powerful and encouraging letter from a pastor of an Eritrean church, written to his wife from prison. Please join in prayer for our brothers and sisters in prison as you readthe letter.
Father, please give our Eritrean brother and sisters in prison continued steadfast trust and hope in You as they minister Your Word in the midst of hardship and uncertainty. Provide comfort and peace to their families. We to pray for their release, and for freedom for all Christians in Eritrea to worship You.
Praying with you,
The Prayer Force Team
Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: December 2009
Maryam Jalili, Mitra Zahmati and Farzan Matin, are imprisoned in Iran following their arrest while gathered at a to celebrate Christmas. On Dec. 24, Maryam, Mitra, and Farzan were among 15 Christians arrested by security forces in Pakdasht, Iran. After a week without information, family members contacted authorities and demanded to know where they were being held. Officials told the families that the Christians would be released the same day, but instead they were secretly transferred to the notorious in Tehran.
On March 16, The People's High Court of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region rejected an appeal from Uyghur house-church leader Alimujiang Yimiti, according to ChinaAid Association. In October 2009, Alimujiang was sentenced to 15 years in prison for "providing state secrets to overseas organizations." Please send a letter of encouragement to Alimujiang, letting him know you are praying for him. Also pray for his persecutors. Tell your friends about Christians suffering in China, and encourage them to pray for and write to Alimujiang. Your letters can result in shorter prison sentences for those accused. Write to Alimujiang and encourage our Chinese brother.
ANOTHER WAVE OF ARRESTS FOR ERITREAN CHRISTIANS: Open Doors has learnt of the arrest of another 25 Christians on Friday, April 2. They are all members of the Asmara Full Gospel Church and include an unknown number of women. Among the detainees is the daughter of a high profile government official closely involved with the . This is the third reported arrest of a group of Christians in less than a month. Read Article>>
Update Prayer Report-
Authorities in Xinjiang Province recently moved Uyghur Urumqi, and allowed the first visit from family members since his arrest in January 2008, according to Compass sources. Praise God! Alimjan Yimit from a prison in Kashgar to a prison in the provincial capital
pastored a Uyghur ethnic state secrets to foreign
organizations, his actual offense was talking to visiting Christians
from the United States. The Kashgar Intermediate Court found Alimjan
guilty of leaking state secrets on Oct. 27, 2009 and gave him a
15-year sentence. Alimjan was noticeably thinner but in good spirits,
the family reported. Officials have now granted Alimjans wife Gulnur
and other close family members permission to visit him once a month. in Xinjiang prior to his arrest
in January 2008. While the initial charges against Alimjan were both
instigating separatism and leaking
we thank and praise You for the visits that Alimjan can have from his
family. We know that You are sustaining him during his time in prison,
and we ask that You would continue to strengthen his faith daily. We
also ask that You give the lawyers wisdom as they work to reduce
Alimjans sentence. May You be glorified in his situation, and may he
and his family trust You through it.
! On May 22, Maryam and Marzieh were acquitted of all charges, according to Elam Ministries. Maryam and Marzieh thank you for all your prayers. "We are most grateful to everyone who prayed for us," Marzieh said. "I have no doubt that God heard the prayers of his people." Maryam added, "I believe our arrest, imprisonment and subsequent release were in the timing and plan of God, and it was all for his glory. But the prayers of people encouraged and sustained us throughout this ordeal." Thank you for writing to Maryam and Marzieh. We encourage you to continue writing to other believers still in prison. Your letters make a difference. Pray and write today!
Marzieh & Maryam
Gao Zhisheng Confirmed Tortured
Named ABA's International Human Rights Lawyer of the Year
At the annual American Bar Association conference, held in San Francisco on August 6, 17-year-old Ge Ge smiled as she walked to the podium to accept the International Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award on behalf of her missing father, Gao Zhisheng.
"I am so very proud of my father," she said. "This is the first time that this award [has been] granted to a Chinese person. If my father knew that I accepted this award for him, he would be very happy."
The President of ABA expressed warm regards toward Gao Zhisheng, praising him for his breadth and depth of work for human rights in the Chinese legal system. Ge Ge then shared her admiration for her father and his devotion to his work. "Deep in my heart, my father is the type of person I admire very much. He can get over any difficulties, and he is not afraid of anything.. I feel that my father is an outstanding father."
Though proud of her father's accomplishments, Ge Ge admitted, "I have been really worrying about my dad's situation." Ge Ge and her family continue to dread the reality that Gao continues to be held hostage by the Chinese government and may never return home. Read the Interview with Ge Ge and coverage of Gao Zhisheng's ABA award.
ChinaAid refuses to back down in the call for freedom for Gao Zhisheng, and all other human rights defenders like him. Reliable sources in China recently confirmed that Gao Zhisheng was severely tortured last year in Xinjiang, following his family's escape to the U.S. After briefly resurfacing this March, Gao Zhisheng was able to talk to his family and visit his brother and father-in-law, before being kidnapped again by the authorities from Beijing. No one has seen or heard from him since April 20, 2010. Read the RFA Interview with Gao's Brother and Sister.
"Gao's continued forced disappearance is a blatant disregard of the basic human rights of the Chinese people," says Pastor Bob Fu, who visited Gao's family in June. "If there is no regard for even a well-respected, human rights attorney's dignity, what stops the Chinese Government from exploiting the dignity of its citizens? We will not stop until Gao's rights are restored, as a law-abiding citizen of China. We will not rest until Gao Zhisheng is allowed to be reunited unconditionally with his family in the US."
ChinaAid needs your help to free Gao Zhisheng. Your donations help us raise awareness for Gao's case and fight to preserve the basic human rights of the citizens and their legal defenders in China.
Urge your friends and family to Sign the Petition and Donate today to help Free Gao Zhisheng!
Visit FreeGao.com to learn more.
On July 13, the family of Uyghur house-church leader, Alimujiang Yimiti, was permitted to visit him for 20 minutes, according to China Aid Association. Yimiti's family was relieved to see him alive, as guards had repeatedly refused to allow them visits in recent weeks. During their meeting, Alimujiang confirmed that he had received his wife's letters. Please continue sending and let Yimiti know you are praying for him. Let your friends know about Christians suffering in China and encourage them to pray and write to him as well.
Your letters make a difference and can result in shorter prison sentences for those accused. Write and pray today!