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Baghdad church siege convicts sentenced to death

Country/Region: Iraq, Middle East and North Africa

Three men convicted of the 2010 siege on a Baghdad church in which over 50 people were killed have been sentenced to death.

iraq-church-nov-104X3.jpg
A door to the Baghdad church
was riddled with bullets

Iraq’s highest court ratified the penalty on Thursday 2 February. Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, said:

There are three convicted criminals. All of them are Iraqis and they were convicted based on the terrorism law.

The sentence is final and it will be sent to the presidency to issue a decree to the Justice Ministry to execute it.

On 31 October 2010 armed militants took around 100 worshippers hostage during an evening service at the Baghdad church. Over 50 hostages and police were killed and more than 60 people injured in the attack, which ended when security forces stormed the building.

Twelve suspects were arrested at the end of November 2010 in connection with the incident. One of the alleged leaders, Huthaifa al-Batawi, known as al-Qaeda’s “Emir of Baghdad”, was killed in an attempted jailbreak last May.

The al-Qaeda affiliated group, Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the bloodiest recorded assault on Iraqi Christians since the 2003 US-led invasion.

The hostage siege and subsequent violence prompted another exodus of Iraqi Christians from the capital, with hundreds of families fleeing to the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Christians have been targeted with violence in Iraq since the Gulf War of 1990-91, when they became associated with the Western invaders because of their faith. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes; the number of Christians in Iraq has fallen from 1.5 million in 1990 to perhaps as low as 400,000 today.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • Pray for Barnabas Aid partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 13 hours ago

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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