Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
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Ian Freestone
On Sunday, October 17, Rev. Rinaldy Damanik, imprisoned for three years on a trumped-up charge of “carrying illegal weapons,” was elected by an overwhelming majority as President of his Church, the GKST (Gereja Kristen Sulawesi Tengah / Christian Church of Central Sulawesi). The GKST is the largest Protestant church body in the Central Sulawesi region.

Prison authorities, together with authorities in Jakarta , granted Rev. Damanik special leave between October 14 and 18 to attend the Church meeting held at Damanik’s hometown of Tentena, Central Sulawesi . Rev. Damanik left the prison under tight security with local media agreeing not to publicize his leave from the prison and his presence in Tentena. There were concerns that some troublemakers may have used the occasion to create tension and conflict. (Coincidentally, there was unrest in Central Sulawesi over the weekend with several people killed, but this had nothing to do with Damanik’s short release).