Ethiopia (MNN) — Tamirat Woldegorgis, a Christian in southern Ethiopia falsely accused of desecrating a Qur’an, has just been released after serving two of his three sentenced years in prison.
However, Tamirat has lost more than just two years of his life in prison. Due to cramped and harsh conditions, one of his legs is now paralyzed.
Furthermore, when he returned home, Tamirat discovered that his two children, ages 6 and 15, are missing.
"I have been trying to locate my children, but all in vain," says Tamirat. "My life is ruined–I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping."
According to Voice of the Martyrs, Canada’s source Compass Direct News, Tamirat is staying with a friend in an undisclosed town. Tamirat believes Muslims from his area may have taken his kids to restrict his influence.
Tamirat used to work in a cloth-making business before his arrest. When Tamirat was arrested back in August 2010, it was because his co-worker found that Tamirat had written “Jesus is Lord” on a piece of cloth.
Tamirat’s co-worker further accused him of writing “Jesus is Lord” in the cover of a Qur’an, but with no evidence. But Tamirat was still sentenced to three years in prison on November 18, 2010 for desecration of a Qur’an, a serious offense according to Muslim Shariah law.
Ethiopia is nearly 35% Muslim. Jijiga, the town where Tamirat was imprisoned, is the capitol of Ethiopia’s Somali Region Zone Five, which follows Shariah principles.
Persecution of Christians in Ethiopia is only getting worse. Ethiopia moved up to #38 on the World Watch List of countries with the worst Christian persecution, where last year it was #43.
Pray for the safety and salvation of Tamirat’s children, and for reunion with their father. Pray for courage among persecuted Ethiopian Christians and for the spread of the Gospel there.