Algeria: Pastor sentenced to prison for “shaking Muslim faith” with Christian literature at bookstore
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A pastor in Oran Province, Algeria has been sentenced to one year in prison for “shaking the faith” of Muslims with Christian literature at the bookshop he managed, Morning Star News reports. Pastor Rachid Seighir was given the prison term just a few days after another judge ordered his Oratoire Church building in the city of Oran to be shut down.
Pastor Seighir had managed the now-closed bookstore in Oran, 268 miles west of Algiers. He and bookstore salesman Nouh Hamimi were prosecuted under a 2006 Algerian law regulating non-Muslim worship; in March the two men were convicted of “distributing publications or other propaganda undermining the faith of a Muslim.”
On June 6, following an appeal against an original sentence of two years imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 dinars (US$3,745), Pastor Seighir and Mr. Hamimi were sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of 200,000 dinars (US$1,494), Morning Star News reports.
Four days prior to the sentencing, on June 2, a court ruling shut down Pastor Seighir’s Oratoire church and three other churches in Oran Province. “This is a judgment that the governor of Oran won against us,” Pastor Seighir told Morning Star News. “It is ordered to proceed with the immediate closure of the three places of worship. To tell you the truth, I don’t understand what’s going on,” Pastor Seighir said.
Algeria ranks 24 on the US Open Doors watch list of top 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.