Algerian Christians request prayer for Reverend Youssef Ourahmane, vice president of the EPA, who has been convicted in absentia to two years imprisonment and fined 100.000 DZD (approx US$ 725).
The EPA (Èglise Protestante d’ Algérie), is an association of more than 45 Protestant churches. In addition to his responsibility as vice president, Reverend Ourahmane is a senior pastor overseeing a number of churches and Bible schools in several areas of the country.
In March 2023, a small number of Christian families, spent three days during a school holiday in a church compound under his supervision. The compound has a small church, which was sealed by the an order from the Governor of the province in 2019. Following an investigation of this, Reverend Ourahmane was charged with holding an unauthorised religious assembly (worship) and holding worship in a building not permitted for worship. The charges are based on two articles of the Ordinance to Regulate non-Muslim Worship, enacted in 2006. He was not informed of the court hearing or the verdict until mid September.
Reverend Ourahmane has appealed the verdict. The hearing date is set for 19 Nov 2023.
Prosecuting the vice-president of the EPA is an escalation of a campaign, started in 2017, to close Protestant churches and harass leaders. Only a handful of churches are still open. Several Christians, especially church leaders, have faced court cases on different charges. There are at least ten on-going court cases against Christians on religion-related charges.
The church in Algeria urges us to pray:
- for the pastor and his family to know the comfort of the Father and
- for the EPA and the church in Algeria, to know wisdom of Holy Spirit in dealing with this severe campaign
- that the appeal will be successful, that Reverend Ourahmane will be acquitted on all charges and the case against him dropped
- for Algerian church leaders to persevere in the face of increasing challenges for churches and individual Christians
- for the government campaign against the Church and Christians to cease, so that Christians can live in peace and freedom