ALGERIA: Pastor’s Sentence Upheld

07 May 2024

Source: Middle East Concern

Pastor Youssef Ourahmane, vice-president of the EPA (Église Protestante d’ Algérie), requests continued prayer after a 2 May appeal verdict, which confirmed a previous sentence of one year applied imprisonment as well as a fine on charges of holding an unauthorised religious assembly and holding worship in a building not permitted for worship. The charges are based on two articles of the 2006 ordinance regulating non-Muslim worship. The appeal court added an additional six months suspended prison sentence.

​An investigation began in March 2023 when a small number of Christian families spent a three-day holiday in a church compound under his supervision. The small church in the compound had been sealed in 2019 by an order from the Governor of the province.

Pastor Ourahmane was not informed of the original court hearing or verdict (two years in prison and a fine) until mid-September. An appeal verdict announced on 27 November, reduced the sentence to one year imprisonment. The current appeal was heard on 23 April. The prison sentence is suspended pending a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

Pastor Ourahmane oversees a number of churches and Bible schools in several areas of the country, in addition to his responsibility as vice president of the EPA, an association of more than 45 Protestant churches.

Prosecuting the vice president of the EPA is an escalation of a campaign, started in 2017, to close Protestant churches and harass leaders. Only a handful of churches are still open. Several Christians, especially church leaders, have faced court cases on different charges.

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    Pray that God would comfort Pastor Youssef and his family.

    Pray for God’s wisdom, strength and leading for the EPA and the church in Algeria.

    Pray that God would be at work in Algeria, frustrating the plans of those who seek to destroy Christianity and churches in their nation and opening their eyes to salvation through Christ.

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