Continued prayer is requested for Ryan Keating, who has a court hearing on 28 June to face a charge of illegally importing Bibles and books related to Christianity, and an additional charge of producing wine without a licence.
On 27 January police and customs officials raided Ryan’s home and business premises (also the meeting place of a church fellowship), confiscating Christian literature, including Bibles and New Testaments for personal and church use.
On 31 March, Ryan was charged with illegal importation of New Testaments, Bibles, and other Christian literature. He also faced charges relating to wine production without a licence – permission initially granted by the municipality was revoked by the customs department.
The police demanded Ryan’s passport for the duration of the court case, and special permission is needed to travel. Ryan applied for travel between 9 July and 23 September, and this was approved. However on 23 June Ryan’s lawyer was notified that the first court hearing is scheduled for 28 June. The lawyer was only able to obtain the details from the prosecutor on 24 June, restricting time available to prepare the defence.
The charge sheets only list the items found in Ryan’s home in Iskele. It appears the raid on the business premises, located in Famagusta, was outside the jurisdiction of the Iskele police.
The charge sheet lists 20 books, Bibles and other Christian literature, which are claimed to have been illegally imported from the Republic of Cyprus and valued at $640. Ryan says that none of the books came from there and he has receipts to prove it. Their total value is less than $100.
The US Embassy in Cyprus is concerned about the harassment of Ryan and has been seeking to raise the issue with the Turkish Cypriot authorities. They have also appointed a consular assistant to attend Monday’s hearing.
Friends of Ryan request prayer that:
- God will encourage Ryan and his family during this particularly stressful time and give them His peace.
- Ryan and his lawyer will be able to prepare a good defence in the limited time available.
- The court hearing will result in the charges against Ryan being dropped, so that Ryan and his family are able to visit friends and family in the U.S.
- The police will stop harassing Ryan.