By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
TINDOUF, ALGERIA (Worthy News)– An Algerian Christian was heavily fine by an appellate court in Tindouf Wednesday for proselytizing.
Mohamed Ibaouene, a Christian convert from Islam, was fined 100,000 Algerian dinars ($1,280 US) for sharing his faith with former co-worker Abdelkrim Mansouri, who filed a complaint with the National Gendarmerie in Tindouf that Ibaouene had pressured him to abandon Islam.
After being sentenced in absentia by a court in Tigzirt to one year in prison and a fine.
Ibaouene denied the charges, claiming it was Mansouri who had pressured him to renounce Christianity. After appealing the verdict, an appellate court overturned the prison sentence, but increased the fine.
Ibaouene was convicted under Article 11 of Law 03/2006 that allows for a fine of up to one million dinars for anyone who "incites, constrains, or utilizes means of seduction tending to convert a Muslim to another religion."
"Once again, Algeria's courts have enforced a law that, by its very nature, is used to prosecute anyone who does not adhere to the religion of Islam," said Aidan Clay, International Christian Concern's Regional Manager for North Africa. "Algeria, a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has an obligation to protect religious freedom, including the rights of individuals to choose and profess their own faith. Yet, Christians continue to be fined on oblique charges despite very little evidence being presented in the courtroom …"