|PRAYER UPDATE #5 - Update on two Turkish Christians charged with insulting Turkishness|
On 2nd August we asked 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 latest hearing was held on Wednesday 12th September. A verdict had been expected.
The judge had been informed that the prosecuting lawyer was going to request that the judge be removed for being biased in favour of the defendants.
However, before this could happen the judge himself asked to be removed from the case. The next hearing is scheduled for 26th September when the lawyers will be informed whether or not a higher court has accepted his request to stand down from the case.
In the Turkish legal system the judge is joined on the bench by a state prosecutor. His role is to assist the judge in interpreting the evidence presented by the prosecutor and the counter arguments provided by the defence lawyer and to give the state's interpretation of the case before the judge issues a verdict. At the previous hearing in July it was the state prosecutor who Christian news agency Compass Direct quoted as saying that 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." At the hearing on 12th September the state prosecutor had been replaced.
A large number of nationalistic protestors were gathered outside the court building expecting to protest an acquittal of Hakan and Turan.
Recall that Hakan and Turan face a second court case resulting from their being ordered to pay fines of 600 Turkish lira (approximately US$460, 340 Euros, UK£230) for supposedly collecting money without local authority approval. This case remains ongoing.
Turkish Christians request our continued prayers that:
* The original charges will be dropped or our two brothers acquitted
* They will be acquitted of the further charge of collecting money illegally
* They and their families will know the daily strength and peace of Jesus
* The Church across Turkey will be emboldened, not intimidated, by this incident
* The truth message of Jesus will be carried within Turkish media
* The accusers and all officials involved will be attracted to the love of Jesus
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