Algerian pastor’s “illegal worship” prison sentence upheld

7 May 2024

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Please redouble your prayers for Algerian church leader Pastor Youssef Ourahmane whose one-year sentence for “illegal worship” has been upheld by the Court of Appeal in Tizi Ouzo, Algeria in a verdict released at the end of April.

Pastor Youssef, Vice President of the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA) was scheduled to have his second appeal against a prison sentence and a fine heard in court on 26 March.

Pastor Youssef was charged with allegedly holding an unauthorised religious meeting in a building not permitted to be used for religious worship. The charge relates to Pastor Youssef’s supervision in March 2023 of several Christian families who stayed at a church compound that includes a chapel that has been sealed by the authorities.

Pastor Youssef oversees several congregations in his role as Vice President of the EPA, an association of more than 45 churches

At his first appeal hearing on 19 November 2023, Pastor Youssef’s original two-year imprisonment was reduced to one year, but the accompanying fine of £605 ($725; €665) remained the same.

In rejecting his second appeal, the Court of Appeal added a further six months’ suspended sentence on top of the one-year prison term. An appeal to Algeria’s Supreme Court is being prepared.

Pray that Pastor Youssef and those supporting his case will not grow weary in their pursuit of justice. Pray that the appeal to the Supreme Court will be heard and the sentence overturned, and that Pastor Youssef will be released to resume serving God’s Church in Algeria.

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