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Moroccan Christian Arrested and Judged in Less Than a Week

September 11, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Moroccan Christian Arrested and Judged in Less Than a Week

Mohammed El Baldi is a faithful servant of God who has been used effectively by the Holy Spirit to draw those around him to new life in Christ. Today he is locked away in a prison.

Moroccan news sources reported that on Wednesday, Aug 28, 34-year-old El Baldi was arrested in the northern Morocco town of Ain Aicha and his house raided. Within two days he was handed over to the public prosecutor, and on Monday, Sept 2, the court in Taounate sentenced him to 2.5 years in prison and a fine of 5,000 dirhams, approximately $600. His crime: evangelizing and attracting people to the Christian religion, to embrace and engage in the rituals of this faith, which is equivalent to apostasy from Islam.

When searching his house the authorities found a number of books and CDs, presumably for outreach purposes. According to a news agency, Mohamed had become a Christian himself about seven years ago. Local news sources also report that he admitted to attending discipleship meetings with Christians in Meknes, Rabat and other cities.

An Open Doors regional analyst questions the due process of law in this case given the Christian’s quick conviction. “When hearing that he was arrested and sentenced in less than a week, this makes us wonder whether he had access to proper legal representation.” An equally disturbing aspect of the case is the excessive sentence. Mohamed’s prison sentence is 5 times longer than the maximum allowed by Moroccan law and the fine is 10 times higher than the legal amount.

The Moroccan Penal Code prohibits spreading the Christian faith. The law states that it is illegal to stop one or more persons from practicing their religion by force, violence or threats. The punishment is 3 to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of 200 to 500 dirhams. The same punishment applies to anyone attempting to deceive or to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert to another religion, either by exploiting peoples’ weakness or needs, or using educational institutions, health centers and orphanages.

In response to the news reports, the analyst says, “the Christian community in Morocco is going to be shaken by these reports and will be very concerned by what might happen next.” We urge you to pray for El Baldi and for the uncertain situation facing the Christian body in Morocco. It is possible that, through contacts in mobile devices, more Christians may be linked to this situation and come to the attention of local authorities.

Father, we join fellow Christians in Morocco in praying for Mohammed El Baldi in the midst of his imprisonment. Spread Your peace over him like a refreshing stream that his soul might rest in peace and safety. We pray that lawyers will achieve a reduction in his unjust sentence and even his release. We pray for the Christian community there as well, for the many living in fear of being identified through the mobile devices that were seized. Turn their eyes to you in the midst of these circumstances and grant them courage to remain faithful. In the name of Jesus, our advocate before the Father and before men, Amen.

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