On 23rd April we posted a request for continued prayer for Hakan and Turan, two Turkish Christians facing a court case. Recall that they are charged with "insulting Turkishness," defamation of Islam and secretly compiling data on private citizens for a local Bible correspondence course. The third hearing was held on 18th April and the fourth was scheduled for 18th July.
The hearing happened as scheduled. A state prosecutor asked the judge to dismiss all the charges. He believes that the three accusers were unable to substantiate their claims. Christian news agency Compass Direct quote the prosecutor as saying there was, "not a single concrete, credible piece of evidence." And also that "There is absolutely no system or practice to consider it a crime for Christians to learn or spread their religion, or to gather for worship. Exactly the contrary, within the scope of freedom of religion and belief, everyone is guaranteed the right under the Constitution and laws [of Turkey] to live and spread his chosen faith."
The judge set the next hearing for Wednesday 12th September when Turkish Christians expect a verdict to be given.
Hakan and Turan did not attend in person on the advice of their lawyer due to the hearing being a few days before the election held on 22nd July.
We regret to report that further harassment occurred prior to the hearing. On Sunday 1st July Hakan and Turan were summoned to an administrative district authority office in Istanbul and ordered to pay fines of 600 Turkish lira (approximately US$460, 340 Euros, UK£230) for supposedly collecting money without local authority approval. Christian news agency Compass Direct quote the men's lawyer as saying "This is ridiculous. It has nothing whatever to do with the original case." The men were not shown any evidence supporting this allegation. Their lawyer has started a new court case to clear Hakan and Turan on this additional charge.
Turkish Christians request our continued prayers that:
* The original charges will be dropped or our two brothers acquitted
* The new charge will also be dropped
* They and their families will know the daily strength and peace of Jesus
* The Church across Turkey will be emboldened, not intimated, by this incident
* The accusers and all officials involved will be attracted to the love of Jesus