By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - An Algerian Christian who abandoned Islam will soon hear whether he will face a lengthy prison for charges related to what authorities call “suspicious evangelistic activities.”
Foudhil Bahloul, 35, awaits a November 10 decision on his appeal against a six-month jail sentence and a fine of $750, Worthy News learned. His case was heard in the provincial appeals court of Ain Defla on October 27, trial observers said.
He was initially sentenced on July 7 for “collecting donations and accepting gifts without a license from the authorized departments.”
The verdict was linked to Bahloul occasionally receiving donations for living costs as the Christian convert seeks a job in the Muslim-majority nation.
The ruling followed a June 30 hearing where he was “surprised to face additional charges of distributing Bibles and printing brochures to distribute to Muslims,” Christians said.
The court’s ruling reportedly also referred to “suspicious evangelistic activities,” “poisoning the minds of the youth,” and “luring people to convert to Christianity.”
At the appeals hearing, he defended himself against those allegations, said advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC) in a statement to Worthy News.
“He was also asked to give a testimony about his faith and how he converted to Christianity although he pointed out to the judge that this is not the subject of the case,” MEC added.
Christians said he was detained on April 17 when security forces searched his house, confiscating Christian materials.
All charges are based on legislation regulating non-Muslim worship carrying a punishment of up to five years in prison and maximum fines of $7,500) in local currency, experts say.
In published comments, local Christians requested “continued prayer” for Bahloul “that he will continue to experience the peace of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
They hope he will “be acquitted from all charges in the court decision.” The Christians said they pray that the “continued campaign against Christians in Algeria would end.”
Local Christians added they seek “more tolerance” toward non-Muslims “and more freedom of worship in Algeria.”