The family of Slimane Bouhafs, the Algerian Christian imprisoned since September 2016 for blasphemy, have confirmed that he has now ended his hunger strike.
Slimane, who is being held in Jijel Prison in north east Algeria, began a hunger strike following the court’s rejection on 2nd October of an application for conditional release. A request for a transfer to Oued Ghir Prison in Bejaia, his home province, has also been refused. His family had urged him to end the hunger strike, concerned for his physical and psychological well being.
Slimane was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on 7th August 2016 (reduced on appeal to three years on 6th September 2016) after posting information on Facebook which was considered blasphemous against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. On 5th July 2017 he received a partial presidential pardon which reduced his sentence by a further 16 months.
The application for conditional release was made on the basis of his deteriorating health and his record of good conduct during the sentence so far. The court gave no reason for the rejection of this application. He has eight months still to serve.
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Algerian Christians give thanks that Slimane has ended the hunger strike, and request continued prayer that:
a. Slimane will know the Lord’s strength and healing
b. he and his family will experience the peace of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit
c. he will be granted a transfer to the prison in Bejaia, closer to his family
d. the authorities will uphold freedom of expression and religion, and cease attempts to intimidate Christians