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ICC Note:

Four Christian converts could face one year in jail for openning a place of worship without the governments permission.

11/28/2010 Algeria (AFP) — Prosecutors asked a court on Sunday to sentence four Algerian converts to Christianity to one year in jail each for opening a place of worship without permission, their lawyer said.

The verdict was expected on December 12, lawyer Mohamed BenBelkacem said.

“The trial was conducted in good conditions. The prosecutor asked for one year in prison for each of the accused, which is the minimum sentence provided by the law,” he said.

The defendants, aged between 35 and 45 years, are accused of opening a Protestant church close to the town of Larbaa Nath Irathen, 150 kilometres (90 miles) east of the capital Algiers, without permission from the authorities.

One of them has also been charged with accommodating without authorisation a French pastor who had travelled to Algeria to address a Christian community, the defence lawyer said.

The practice of religion in Algeria, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, requires authorities to agree to the place of worship and the preacher in terms of a 2006 law.

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