On 26 September, the regional court of appeals upheld a previous court verdict against pastor Rachid Seighir and his bookshop assistant, Nouh Hamimi. Christians in Algeria request continued prayer for both, as they continue to further appeal this verdict.
Both were fined DZD 200,000 each (approx $1,500 US) and given a one-year suspended prison sentence.
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 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.” 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.”
Pastor Rachid’s church, together with two other churches in Oran province, were ordered closed by a court on 6 June and were sealed on 7 July, 2021. That brought the number of churches that have been sealed to 16. Four more churches have been told to cease all activities, but have not been sealed.
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 churches sealed or ordered to cease all activities; and for the organised campaign against Christians to stop
- 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.