Four GFA missionaries granted bail but awaiting release

By August 8, 2008

India (MNN) — The four Gospel for Asia
missionaries that were thrown in jail after being attacked by a mob of
anti-Christian extremists have officially been granted bail. However, there are
several obstacles that must be conquered before the believers can be released.

Missionaries Yohan Samuel, Raj Lohra, Nanji Bir and Shobha Joshi were arrested and charged with
attempting to force people to convert to Christianity and with "offending the
sentiments of the people." The men will remain under lockdown until the judge
returns from vacation to approve their release.

On Tuesday, after several days of negotiations, the
judge issued the bail order. However, some unusual conditions applied. They
were as follows:

  – Post
bail money.

  – Five
local landowners with extensive holdings must sign off on their release.

  – A
certified local government official must sign off on their release.

While GFA leaders were able to meet the requirements,
the judge won't return from vacation until at least August 8.

The missionaries, three of which are Bible college
students doing their internship, were attacked during a prayer meeting at
Yohan's residence around 9 p.m. on July 31. A mob of approximately 700 people
showed up and began harassing them, and after being brutally beaten, the
believers were thrown in jail.

One of the
missionaries said to a GFA leader who visited them: "We are so happy that God protected
us. We are rejoicing here with the Lord. But pray for our bodies; we were
beaten quite badly. Please pray that we would receive healing."

GFA leaders who appealed on behalf of the missionaries
arrived in the town the day after the arrests, only to find heavy opposition.
The anti-Christian extremists responsible for the attack had organized protest
rallies and called for a local strike, which could cripple any government and
business work. They also threatened local lawyers to discourage them from
taking on the missionaries' case.

Although GFA leaders did manage to find legal
representation, anti-Christians have been working against them since the
beginning of the case. Lawyers weren't able to meet with the judge until the
missionaries had been in jail for a few days.

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