A Sudanese court has ruled that there is enough evidence to move forward with the trial of two imprisoned South Sudanese Presbyterian pastors facing "trumped-up" espionage charges, which are punishable by death. The pastors' attorney will have only two weeks to prove their innocence without access to his clients.
In the sixth hearing in the case against pastors Yat Michael and Peter Reith in Khartoum, a judge ruled Thursday that there is sufficient evidence to "charge" the pastors with seven different crimes including criminal conspiracy, espionage, promoting hatred amongst the sects, blasphemy, undermining the constitutional system, obtaining official documents and disturbing the peace — two of which could be punishable by death.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice, the judge's Thursday ruling now means that the pressure is on the pastors' attorney, Mohaned Mustafa, to now prove the innocence of his two clients rather than their guilt having to be proven. more >>
Two Christian women from a Pakistani village in the Sheikhupura district of Punjab province have reportedly been tortured by Muslim villagers, after which their faces were painted black and they were paraded around the town on donkeys.
The Pakistani Christian Post reported that the women, identified as Rukhsana and Rehana, were accused of committing blasphemy, which activists have said is a common way for the Muslim majority to oppress Christian and other minorities.
The two Christians apparently got into an argument with a Muslim woman who wanted to buy from their home a flex used as a carpet for a low price, to which the Christians refused. The Muslim woman then accused the Christians of committing blasphemy by pointing out that the carpet has images of Holy Books and Quran verses on it, which prompted a Muslim mob to beat the Christians and drag them out of their home. more >>
Sudanese authorities arrested 12 young Christian women in Khartoum and forced them to strip out of their clothes after they left a church service wearing what was deemed "immoral dress," a Christian persecution watchdog organization has reported.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the 12 women were leaving a service at the El Izba Baptist Church in Khartoum last Thursday wearing trousers and skirts when they were detained by the local public order police.
The women were taken to the police station and forced to remove their clothing to allow the police officers to inspect the clothing to verify the clothing's indecency. more >>
At least 4,000 Assyrian Christian families are believed to be among the 120,000 people who in recent days have fled the Syrian city of Hassakeh. ISIS forces are entering the city and looking to carry out a mass ethno-religious slaughter, humanitarian groups said, warning that the world still has not provided an adequate response.
"Although we appreciated the efforts of the Republic of France for calling an emergency session of the Security Council last March to discuss the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Assyrian Christians, Yezidis and other ethno-religious minorities of Iraq and Syria, no action has yet been taken to halt this ongoing slaughter. It is as if the world community thinks that the situation will resolve itself if it's ignored," said David William Lazar, Chairman of the American Mesopotamian Organization.
Fides News Agency reported earlier this week that the 4,000 Christian families who have fled Hassakeh belong to various churches, including Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syrian Catholics and Syrian Orthodox, and have been seeking refuge in the nearby urban area of Qamishli. more >>
A 10-year-old boy in Pakistan was allegedly tortured with a stick by his Islamic school teacher after he refused to do construction work on a mosque in the Punjab province.
The Pakistani news site Dawn.com reported that the boy, named only as Tayyab, who is a student at Jamia Ishadal Quran seminary in the Noorpur village in the town of Pakpattan, was brutally beaten by an Islamic cleric until he passed out on Sunday.
Rozi Khan, Tayyab's father, told local media that he was alerted that his son was being physically assaulted when two of his son's classmates came to him and told him that Tayyab was being held by the cleric. more >>
The wife of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini sent a letter to her husband on the day of their 11th wedding anniversary, describing the "excruciating pain" she's in without him while he's being held inside an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith.
"For 1,007 days I have remembered you in prayer and felt your pain. For 1,007 days I have been in prison with you as your wife and soul mate. Each night I have struggled with anxiety and a sense of urgency that we need to get you out," Naghmeh's letter reads.
"Each night that I have laid my head on our bed, I have hugged your empty spot and have wept myself to sleep. Each morning I have woken up with an excruciating pain to my new reality without you. I have prayed. Oh how I have prayed." more >>