Contact: Jeff King
Phone: (301) 989-1708
Email: [email protected]
LAST CHRISTIAN RELEASED FOLLOWING CRACKDOWN:
For Immediate Release
You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference International Christian Concern, and include our web address www.www.persecution.org.
( Washington , DC July 21, 2005) – The last Christian detained in an earlier crackdown by Saudi authorities has been released. Samkutty Varghese (Passport # E8421022) was released from a Saudi prison and left Saudi Arabia at 2 a.m., today July 21. International Christian Concern, received reports this morning that Mr. Varghese arrived safely in India after his official deportation. Varghese was arrested on March 22. ICC had received reports that Varghese was sentenced to as much as 10 months in prison along with 100 lashes.
Samkutty Vargheses arrest led to a later crackdown which involved standard police forces and Saudis special religious police, the Muttawa. Many saw the crackdown as a response to allegations against the United States for desecrating the Quran at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. During the crackdown, Saudi authorities ransacked houses and destroyed any religious materials found in the victims possession.
International Christian Concern is very pleased with the release of Samkutty Varghese, and asks everyone to continue their support for increased transparency and religious freedom within Saudi Arabia . In addition, we urge the new Ambassador to the United States , Prince Turkey al-Faisal, to take up the cause of freedom in Saudi Arabia and to take seriously Saudis Country of Particular Concern status.
ICC is a Washington , D.C. based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department.
To be removed from this press release list, hit reply and put remove from PR list in the subject line.