We have just received news that Tamirat Woldegorgis, an Ethiopian Christian imprisoned for allegedly desecrating the Quran, has been released from prison a year ahead of his scheduled release date.
Tamirat was arrested following a disagreement with his Muslim roommate over money. Initially police officers interceded on Tamirat’s behalf, but after hearing the nature of the religious accusation against him, they took him into custody. Tamirat was pressured to admit his guilt and tricked into signing a false confession. The judge did not even give Tamirat any opportunity to speak at his trial. He was sentenced to three years in jail.
In prison, Tamirat shared a thirteen-foot square cell with 40 other inmates. He felt abandoned and isolated. "For many months I didn’t know that Christians were praying for me," he said. "No one was allowed to make contact with me or even talk to me when I appeared in court."
The first glimmer of hope came during a court appearance when Tamirat saw several men in the public gallery bowing their heads and realized they were Christians praying for him. For the first time in months, an indescribable joy came over him.
The night before his release, Tamirat said he had a dream in which "God told me that I would be released the following day." Under normal circumstances, prisoners are ordered to clean themselves and wash their clothes before being released. Instead Tamirat was instructed to leave the prison as quickly as possible.
Following his release, Tamirat shared that God had kept him going through the darkest times. "God's timing is perfect," he said. "He has made me stronger and has built my faith. Thank you to Open Doors for your ongoing support, concern and prayers."
Thank You, Father, for the early release of Tamirat from prison, and for Your faithful presence with him during this dark time in his life. Thank You for the prayer and support of Christians around the world. We pray for his quick recovery from this ordeal as he and his family begin rebuilding their lives together. We think of other Christians who remain in prison or have been kidnapped for their faith. Strengthen them with Your love and presence. In the name of Jesus, our constant presence, Amen.