Algeria: Ministry Leader Charged for Holding an Unauthorized Assembly

Source: Middle East Concern, March 5, 2024

Pastor Ourahmane is a senior pastor overseeing a number of churches and Bible schools in several areas of [Algeria], in addition to his responsibility as vice president of an association of more than 45 Protestant churches.

In March 2023, he was investigated by the authorities, after 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 had been sealed in 2019 by an order from the governor of the province.

Pastor Ourahmane was not informed of the court hearing or the verdict (two years in prison and a fine) until mid-September 2023. He was charged with holding an unauthorized 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.

On November 19, there was hearing appealing the verdict [but] the sentence was upheld. Pastor Ourahmane has filed a further appeal.

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.

Read the full story.

See also Africa’s Largest Mosque Inaugurated in Algeria After Years of Delays (The Guardian). It features the world’s tallest minaret and its prayer room can accommodate 120,000 people.

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