Palestinian Christians request renewed prayer for nuns of the Coptic Orthodox church and convent in Bethlehem involved in legal action over a property dispute, after a further delay in the legal process.
Today (14th November) the hearing related to the assault on nuns of the St Mary’s Convent, Bethlehem, was delayed yet again after a vital witness, a policeman present at the scene of the crime, failed to attend. The hearing has been postponed again to 22nd January 2018. This is the third such postponement after an initial date on 11th July and after members of the family that has misappropriated convent property failed to attend a hearing on 10th October.
The court hearing is in relation to physical assaults on 30th April 2017, when those illegally occupying convent property attacked one of the nuns, Sister Maria, and then a vehicle. After she was assaulted, Sister Maria and witnesses were travelling by car with a policeman to make a statement at the police station when their car was stopped and vandalised. The assailants were unaware of the presence of the policeman inside the car, who made himself known and stopped the attack, but failed to appear in court today.
In the 1980’s an elderly blind Palestinian woman was given a room on the church property adjacent to the convent, but in 1998 her family moved in and took over more of the property by breaking into the convent. The church filed a complaint but a judge dropped the case in 2015 due to “lack of evidence”. The case was referred to a higher court. The family illegally occupying parts of the convent has influential connections with the Palestinian Authorities and it is believed that the justice process is being hindered as a consequence.
a. for protection, courage and God’s peace for the nuns
b. that justice will be done, and that there will be no cover-up
c. for wisdom and strength for church leaders and state officials to stand firm and not bow to pressure that would compromise justice
d. that the perpetrators of the assaults will repent of what they have done