By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - A pastor and his co-worker are weighing their options after an Algerian court upheld their one-year suspended prison term for “shaking the faith of Muslims” through selling literature.
Pastor Rachid Seighir and Nouh Hamimi were sentenced February 27 to two years imprisonment after authorities raided their Christian bookstore in the coastal city of Oran.
In June, two-year prison sentences were reduced to one-year suspended sentences, trial observers said. The punishment was in addition to separate fines imposed by the court.
The two men appealed the verdict, saying they were innocent of all charges. However, on September 26, the regional court of appeals upheld the ruling, Christian’s said.
Christians urged prayers for the expected appeal hearing and God’s protection and aid to the men and their families.
The trial is the latest setback for the pastor whose Christian bookstore and congregation faced legal problems for years in the Muslim nation.
Rachid’s Oratoire Church in Oran, the second most important city of Algeria, was ordered to close in late 2019.
However, the pastor has suggested that the difficulties enabled them to reach non-Christians with the Gospel. “Everyone has now heard of the church and is talking about it too,” he said recently in published remarks.
The case underscored broader concerns about the treatment of Christians in Muslim-majority Algeria. There are about 129,000 believers among a population of just over 43.3 million, according to Christian estimates.