Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Algerian Church leaders caught in cruel legal limbo – July 3rd

Release International, June 27, 2024 (excerpts)

53 Algerian Christians, almost all pastors, have been arrested and prosecuted in the past five years simply for living out their faith. 5 have already spent months behind bars, but the majority have prison sentences hanging over them pending appeal at the Supreme Court.

A veneer of due legal process through interminable waits for Supreme Court appeal hearings thinly disguises the fact that Christians are being arrested, tried, convicted and then sentenced to imprisonment and fined in contravention of the freedom of worship and other civil liberties enshrined in their constitution.

Their places of worship are being shut down, with 43 out of the 44 member churches of the Protestant Association of Algeria (EPA) having been closed since 2018, for holding ‘unauthorised worship’ despite the EPA having registered as an official denomination in 1994.

As a result, Christians are constitutionally free to practise their faith, but outlawed from sharing it; are members of a legally registered church, whose places of worship are all closed.

This is a direct response to the phenomenal church growth seen in Algeria in one generation: Christians numbered from the tens in the mid-1980s to the tens of thousands by 2016.