At a 22 December hearing, Ryan Keating faces new charges, this time regarding training provided at Exile Café in Famagusta.
In September, police in Famagusta requested the public prosecutor to press charges against Ryan for giving training related to barista skills and wine appreciation without authorisation from the relevant authorities. Ryan’s friends have already submitted property deeds and even a tractor as guarantees for Ryan and his U.S. passport is held by the authorities in Iskele. Ryan hopes additional guarantors will not be demanded by the court.
A joint police and customs raid on his home in Iskele and the café in Famagusta on 27 January 2021 led to Ryan initially being charged with illegally importing Christian books and producing wine without a licence. The raid was conducted before the renewal of the existing licence had been approved. These charges led to two separate and ongoing trials in the Iskele and Famagusta court districts.
In July 2022, police in Famagusta district started questioning regular customers at the café and church members (Exile Café is the registered address for the local church association) about Ryan, the café and church activities. Turkish converts to Christianity were also questioned about their faith and baptism.
Over the past two years Ryan has been summoned multiple times for questioning by police and prosecutors in both Iskele and Famagusta districts. His interrogations have focussed on his Christian activities, which are not illegal, leading to the impression that the charges against him are being used as a pretext to harass him. He has appeared in court more than 20 times in relation to these allegations .
Prayer is requested that:
- God will strengthen and encourage Ryan during these challenges and that his lawyer will have wisdom in defending him against the charges
- The court will not demand additional security from guarantors
- God will encourage those café customers and church members who were brought in for questioning and made to sign statements
- Despite the opposition, the church and café will continue to flourish and be a blessing to the community