In October, MEC requested prayer for four Christians, including three from the same family, who were to appear in court on 6 November in Province of Bouira, in the Kabylie region. The case has been postponed until 27 November.
These Christians are accused of “inciting a Muslim to change his religion,” an offence under Ordinance 6-3 of 2006, punishable with a prison term of two to five years and a fine of 500,000 to 1 million Algerian Dinars ( approx. US$4,350 to US$8,700).
The charges follow accusations made in July 2018 by a woman (aged 40) whose husband (50), the main defendant, had converted to Christianity. She and members of her family accused her Christian husband, together with a Christian family that had attempted to mitigate the conflict between the couple, of wanting to convert her to Christianity.
Also in October, MEC requested prayer for a young Christian (29) from Tizi Ouzou, who has been charged with “illegal importation of Christian materials.” The young man was returning from a visit to a Middle Eastern country in the summer of 2016, and had with him some items, such as keyrings and scarfs, with Christian inscriptions. He was tried and acquitted, but in September 2018 the prosecutor decided to appeal. He appeared before a court of appeals in Algiers on 18 October and was once again acquitted of all charges.
Algerian Christians rejoice in his acquittal, the first full acquittal of a Christian in Algeria in recent years. They urge us to pray:
- for those facing charges to know the presence of Jesus and the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit as they deal with the legal system
- that the hearing would not be delayed further and that they would be acquitted of all charges
- that Christians in Algeria will know the Lord’s peace, wisdom and guidance in the face of ongoing pressures
- that those responsible for the intimidation of Christians would know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus
- for just laws and greater societal tolerance in Algeria toward Christians