On 6 June, Pastor Rachid Seighir and his bookshop assistant, Nouh Hamimi, on appeal received one-year suspended sentences on a faith-related charge and were fined.
Christians in Algeria request continued prayer for both, thanking God that the earlier prison sentences have now been suspended. The two Christians are required to pay DZD 200.000 each (approx $1,500 US). They will appeal the verdict to the high court.
Pastor Rachid leads the Oran City church (L’Oratoire) and also owns a book and stationery shop, where Nouh Hamimi works as a salesman.
In September 2017 police raided the bookshop, finding Christian books, publications (including Bibles) and printing machines. On 27 February 2021 both were convicted in-absentia of “proselytising,” as the bookshop contained books which were considered to “agitate the faith of Muslims.” An article in the law regulating non-Muslim worship criminalises “ … producing, storing, or disseminating printed documents, audiovisuals, or using any other means with the intent to undermine the faith of a Muslim.”
An appeal was heard on 16 May with the verdict postponed several times.
On 4 June, the administrative court of Oran issued an implementation order to close three churches in the area, the church of pastor Rachid, the Ain Turk House of Hope and a church in El Ayaida. A court order to close these churches was issued on 15 July 2020, but the churches remained open. It is not yet known when the authorities will seal the churches. These three churches will bring the number of churches that have been sealed to 16.
Christians in Algeria request prayer:
- thanking God for the suspended sentence and praying for these two brothers to know the peace of Jesus
- for justice, that they will be acquitted on all charges on further appeal
- for the three churches ordered to be closed; and for the organised campaign against Christians to cease
- for the unjust laws hindering Christian worship to be cancelled or amended
- that those responsible for the persecution of Christians will know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus.