On 7 June a hearing is scheduled for Ryan Keating in Famagusta for allegedly illegally importing Bibles and Christian literature. The materials were confiscated in a raid by political division police and customs officials on his business premises in January 2021. The business, Exile Café, is used also as a meeting place for Christians on Sundays.
Another hearing is scheduled for 14 June in Iskele regarding the Bibles and Christian books confiscated during a raid on his home on the same day as the raid on his business premises. The hearings were initially scheduled for 16 and 17 May, but were postponed when a customs official for the prosecution failed to appear for one hearing and a funeral disrupted the other.
The official reason for the raid on Ryan’s home and business premises was the production of wine without a valid licence (the authorities had delayed the renewal of his licence). During interrogation, however, it became clear that the central motivation behind the police action had been religious, which is also indicated by the confiscation of Bibles and other Christian literature from both his home and the café.
Since the raid covered both jurisdictions of Iskele (his home) and Famagusta (his business), it has resulted in legal action in separate courts. Ryan has paid a fine with regards to the wine production without a valid licence, but the charges of illegally importing books (the Bibles, New Testaments etc.) continue.
Ryan requests prayer that:
- The case in Famagusta will be delayed until the case in Iskele is completed
- It will be clearly recognised that Ryan’s personal Bibles etc. had been brought into North Cyprus legally via Turkey.
- The political and religious motivation behind the raid and consequent court action will be exposed.
- The confiscated materials be returned and that a new licence will be approved.