Algerian believer sentenced to five years in prison under blasphemy law

By June 1, 2011

Algeria (MNN) — A young father and husband has been sentenced to five years in prison for proselytizing in Algeria.

Voice of the Martyrs, Canada reports that when Siagh Krimo and another believer were found telling a neighbor about their faith, they were arrested for breaking the blasphemy law. The other man was released soon after, but Krimo was told to wait for his trial.

Compass Direct News reports that Krimo was tried based solely on a complaint filed by his neighbor, to whom Krimo had given a CD about Christianity. Voice of the Martyrs, Canada confirms that the neighbor did not even witness in court.

Krimo was charged under Article 144, bis 2 of the Penal Code which criminalizes acts that "insult the prophet and any of the messengers of God, or denigrate the creed and precepts of Islam, whether by writing, drawing, declaration, or any other means."

According to Compass Direct, the prosecution had only suggested a two-year prison sentence, and a fine of 50,000 Algerian dinars (US$690). The court, nonetheless, sentenced him to a five-year prison term.

Krimo will leave a wife and a nine-month-old child behind when he enters prison if nothing happens in the appeal process, which ends late this week.

Religious injustices seem to be popping up all across Algeria. While seven Algerian churches were waiting to hear back from government officials about the status of their registration application last week, the Governor of Bejaia forced them to shut down for not meeting the national regulations for non-Islamic religious groups.

News from Algeria has been perking ears of persecution-watchers with several religious injustices lately–so much so that the World Evangelical Alliance recently created a release titled "Spurt in Christian Persecution in Algeria Needs Attention."

Voice of the Martyrs, Canada suggests you do two things to put a stop to the problems. First, pray. Pray for safety for Krimo and his family. Pray that the Lord would strengthen them in their faith during this significant trial. Pray also for believers to be bold despite the daily obstacles they face.

Second, write to the Algerian embassy in your nation to express your concern. The addresses for the embassies in the U.S. and Canada are given below:

His Excellency Smail Benamara
Ambassador
Embassy of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
500 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N2
Canada

His Excellency Abdallah Baali
Ambassador
Embassy of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
2118 Kalorama Road NW
Washington DC 20008
USA

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