A court has rejected an application for conditional release for Slimane Bouhafs on Monday 2nd October. He has since gone on a hunger strike in the Jijel Prison, Northeastern Algeria.
Bouhafs had been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on 7th August 2016 (reduced on appeal to three years on 6th September 2016) after he posted information on Facebook which was considered blasphemous against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. His family decided to apply for parole after having received a partial presidential pardon, on July 5th 2017, which decreased his sentence by 16 months.
While he still has nine months to serve in prison, his health had been deteriorating due to gout. His family reported that his parole application was supported by medical records to prove the seriousness of his health condition plus a record of good conduct whilst in prison. Yet, the family’s application for a conditional release, was rejected without justification from the court.
Bouhafs went on hunger strike to demand his transfer to a prison in Bejia, his home province. On 8th May 2017, Slimane was transferred from Constantine Prison to his current Prison in Jijel. This is the third prison in which Slimane has been detained. He was originally held at Sétif Prison and in October 2016 was transferred to Constantine Prison, in which he was assaults by fellow prisoners, prompting his family to request a transfer to Oued Ghir Prison in Bejaia.
His family has pleaded with him to end his hunger strike as they are very concerned for its effect on his physical and psychological health.
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Algerian Christians request prayer:
a. that Bouhafs and his family will experience the peace of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit
b. that he will know the Lord’s healing and strength
c. that he will be granted a transfer to a prison in Bejia, where he can be easily attended by his family
d. that the authorities will uphold freedom of expression and religion, and cease attempts to intimidate Christians