After a two-day postponement, several people detained since January had their first hearing today (19 April) in Hargeisa with various international observers present. They are charged with offences against the state religion (Islam) and inciting others to disobey laws relating to public order.
Three of them are also charged with apostasy, as well as spreading and teaching Christianity. Their hearing will continue on 27 April.
The charges followed raids on 21 and 22 January 2021, when police arrested Mohamed, Hamdi, an Ethiopian woman, Aster, and Hamdi A, a Somali woman. Mohamed and Hamdi’s baby was detained with them. In February additional arrests took place.
On 17 April, Aster, Hamdi A. and an Ethiopian man were released and deported.
In September 2020 another Christian couple was arrested and later deported to Somalia.
Somali Christians request continued prayer:
- Thanking God for the release of the two Ethiopians and Hamdi A. and for their physical and emotional recovery
- That the remaining detainees, including Mohamed and Hamdi, will experience God’s closeness and strength, especially during court hearings
- For a fair trial to be held, that ongoing advocacy efforts will bear fruit and that those detained will be released soon.
- For strength, wisdom and boldness for the lawyer who represents the people arrested in January.