Algeria: Appeals court upholds sentence for two Christian leaders accused of proselytizing

Thursday, September 30, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A court of appeals in Algeria has upheld the sentences of two Christian pastors in Algeria who were convicted of “proselytization” and sentenced to a fine of $1,500 USD and a one-year suspended prison sentence, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

Pastors Rachid and Nouh Hamimi are Algerian believers who worked at a bookstore that was found to have Christian books and Bibles, ICC reports. The two Christians were convicted in their absence on February 27, after authorities carried out a raid on the shop, which is owned by Pastor Rachid. The pastors had filed an appeal against their sentence in May, but on September 26, a regional appeals court ruled against them and upheld their sentence.

Pastor Rachid, who leads the Oran City Church (L’Oratoire), has been dealing with harassment against his church as well. Authorities issued court orders on June 6 to close the Oran City church along two others in Oran province, ICC said. All three Oran churches were sealed on July 7, bringing the total number of churches sealed to 17.

In a recent briefing about religious freedom in Algeria, ICC stated: “As the country has emerged from COVID, there has been an increase of activity relating to criminal charges pressed against individual Christians, namely protestants. Now more than ever is the time for the international community to pressure Algeria to reverse course and protect the rights of its Christian minority.”

Algeria ranks 24 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2021 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.