by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A court in Baghdad, Iraq, sentenced four Iraqi militia members and one Iranian national to life imprisonment last week for the killing of American Christian Stephen Troell last year, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.
Troell had been living in Iraq with his family, working with an American-based NGO and an English institute in Baghdad, when he was killed during an alleged kidnapping attempt that went wrong on November 7, 2022. “During [Stephen’s] time in Baghdad, he frequently documented his love for his family, his love for Iraq and the people of the Middle East, and his Christian faith,” ICC said in its report.
The five defendants told the court that they had intended to kidnap Troell and demand a ransom but that he was ultimately shot and killed while driving his car in Baghdad, ICC said.
It is not clear whether Troell was targeted by Iran on the false assumption that he was a US spy, or whether he was attacked for sharing his faith in Christ in Muslim-majority Baghdad, ICC said.
In a website statement about the dangers facing Christians in Iraq, the Open Doors international Christian advocacy organization says: “Iraqi Christians experience discrimination, harassment and violent persecution, without protection from the state. In central and southern Iraq, many Christians choose not to display their faith in public to avoid harassment or discrimination at work, university or when trying to cross checkpoints. In the Nineveh Plains region, church leaders have been kidnapped in the past; those speaking out against local militias or political leaders are particularly at risk.”
War-torn Iraq ranks 18th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of the top 50 countries where Christians are most in danger.
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