Algerian Christians are requesting our prayers on behalf of Siagh Krimo, an Algerian Christian who is scheduled to appear in court today to see if his five year prison sentence for blasphemy will be upheld.
Krimo was arrested on April 14, 2011 and held for three days for giving a CD about Christianity to his neighbor. He was later summoned to the Criminal Court in the Djamel district ofon May 4 and charged with blasphemy. The court tried Krimo based solely on the neighbor's accusation that Krimo attempted to convert him to Christianity even though the neighbor himself failed to appear at the hearing. The prosecutor, losing his lone witness and the bulk of his evidence, reportedly asked the judge to have Krimo's sentence reduced to two years imprisonment. However, to the surprise of many, the judge sentenced Krimo beyond the prosecutor's recommendation, giving him a five year prison sentence, the maximum punishment one can receive for blasphemy.
Krimo's conviction was in accordance with Article 144 bis 2 of Algeria's Penal Code which criminalizes acts that "insult the prophet and any of the messengers of God, or denigrate the creed and precepts of Islam, whether by writing, drawing, declaration, or any other means."
"Brother Krimo is in stress and anxiety over his wife and their beautiful baby girl," an Algerian church leader and a friend of Krimo's told ICC. "Their whole life was turned upside down overnight just for preaching the gospel to a Muslim. But in all this, we are more than conquerors in Christ who is our hope and our strength. Psalms 135:6 says, 'All that the Lord wants, he does, in heaven and on earth, the seas and in the abyss.' They need prayer and support so they don't feel alone and abandoned."
- For the judge to overturn the verdict of five years imprisonment previously given to brother Siagh Krimo.
- For brother Siagh Krimo to trust and find courage in the Lord. Pray also that he will exemplify Christ and give God glory during the court hearing and after, despite the final verdict that is applied.
- For brother Siagh Krimo's wife and child to trust that God will sustain them during this period of great trial.
- For Algerian Christians not be intimidated or grow weary, but to continue to share the Gospel with courage and seek the Lord's guidance and grace daily.
Sincerely in Christ,
We are asking for your urgent prayer for Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who may be executed within the next 24 hours if he continues to refuse to recant his faith in court.
Youcef is the pastor of a house church in, and was arrested in October 2009 for opposing the education practice that forces non-Muslim students to read the Quran in school. Youcef had argued that the Iranian constitution permits children to be raised in their parents' faith; however, for defying Iranian authorities, Youcef was charged with apostasy.
Iranian officials used pressure tactics during Youcef's imprisonment as an attempt to coerce him to renounce his Christian beliefs, which included arresting his wife and threatening to seize his children. Still, Youcef remained firm in his faith, refusing to deny the name of his Savior Jesus Christ.
On September 22, 2010, Youcef was issued the death sentence for his conversion to Christianity and for encouraging the conversions of other Muslims. Youcef appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of , claiming he had never been a Muslim and therefore could not be found guilty of apostasy. However, a written verdict upholding the death penalty and ordering an investigation was handed down on June 12. A reexamination of the case to determine whether Nadarkhani will live or die began on Sunday and has continued for the past two days. Early this morning, Youcef refused to deny his faith for the fourth time in court. Technically, he must only be granted three opportunities to return to Islam before he can be executed for apostasy.
Throughout his imprisonment, Youcef has trusted in the Lord and has been a bold witness of the redeeming work of Christ in his life. Remember, Jesus did not merely warn His followers that they might be persecuted; He promised it, saying, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you," (John 15:18-20).
Youcef has learned to delight in hardships and persecution for Christ's sake (2 Cor. 12:10). "Many attempt to flee from their spiritual tests... [but] no one will be victorious by escaping from them, but with patience and humility he will be able to overcome all the tests and gain victory," he wrote from Lakan Prison last June. "Although heaven and earth will fade, His word will still remain."
Arrested: May 2010
On May 24, Said Musa was arrested by government authorities in Afghanistan following a television broadcast that showed Christian baptisms and worship, according to Thecontacts. Musa has openly professed his faith, and he was interrogated about his conversion to Christianity on national television in June. Musa's wife has visited him in prison. "Musa told his wife that he has been under serious pressure to disclose details about people and NGO's," VOM contacts said. "During the third week of August he was moved to another prison and interrogated and beaten again." More Info...
On Nov. 17, Asia Bibi's attorneys filed an appeal against the death sentence she received after being convicted of blasphemy. Her husband, Ashiq, asked believers to continue praying for his family. "Please pray for my wife, asking God to release her soon," Ashiq said. "Please spread the news all over the world and appeal for prayer for me, my wife and our children. I am praying for those helping me and thankful to VOM."
VOM encourages you to send a letter of encouragement to Asia, letting her know you are praying for her. Also write to the Pakistani government and ask for her release. Tell your friends about Christians suffering in Pakistan. Write to Asia and encourage her today!
A court in the Buddhist state of Bhutan has sentence an ethnic Nepalese Christian to three years in prison for showing films about Christianity.
Prem Singh Gurung was arrested for "attempting to promote civil unrest "and charged with violating Sections 105(1) and 110 of the Bhutan Information, Communication and Media Act which requires authorities to screen all films before public presentation.
was arrested after residents complained that he was showing Christian
films between Nepali movies in several small villages.
Christian persecution began in Bhutan in the 1980s with a campaign to "protect the country's sovereignty and cultural integrity." Nepalese charged that the campaign was discriminatory, but authorities responded by forcibly expelling more than 100,000 ethnic Nepalese -- many of whom were clandestine Christians -- to the Nepalese side of the border in Jhapa.
This post was modified from its original form on 12 Nov, 4:38
Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: October 2009
Recently, Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani was reportedly sentenced to death for apostasy. VOM contacts confirm that the pastor's trial was held in recent weeks in the 11th Chamber of The Gilan. Pastor Youcef is one of several members of his church who have been imprisoned. In the past, the Iranian government has also imprisoned and released his wife. Pastor Youcef was arrested in October 2009 after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the .of the province of More Info...
VOM encourages you to send a letter to Imran, letting him know you are praying for him. Also pray for his persecutors. Tell your friends about Christians suffering in Pakistan, and encourage them to pray for Imran and to write to him as well.
Your letters make a difference; they can result in shorter prison sentences for those accused. Please write to Imran and encourage our Pakistani brother.
This post was modified from its original form on 02 Sep, 4:48