Algerian judge upholds blasphemy charges against Christian father

ORAN, Algeria — A judge has upheld the 5-year prison sentence of a Christian man convicted of reposting on Facebook a cartoon of Islam’s prophet.

Also upheld was the fine of 100,000 dinars ($750) against Hamid (surname withheld for protection). His attorney, Farid Khemisti, argued that Hamid had not created the cartoon, only reposted it.

Khemisti believes Hamid received the heavy penalty because he is a Christian.

In other matters:

Algerian activist Yacine Mebarki, accused of insulting Islam, was sentenced to 10 years. On Nov. 25, 2020, the sentence was reduced to one year.

  • Charged with blaspheming Islam, two Christians from Muslim background were sentenced to prison — one for 6 months, the other for 3 years.
  • Houses of worship, except Protestant churches, were allowed to reopen in February from pandemic closures.

Islam is the state religion in Algeria. Thousands of Muslims have become Christians since 2000.

Algeria is No. 24 on Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of places most difficult for Christians.

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