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ICC Note: A Moroccan Christian who was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison for speaking about his faith has been formally cleared. The court proceedings in the case against Mohamed El Baladi, a Christian, were finalized on February 13th, bringing an end to a case that had originally raised concerns about a possible crackdown on religious activity. The court ruled that Mohamed had simply spoken about his faith, with no attempts at coercion. His trial has brought the reality of Moroccan Christians into the public spotlight across the country as his testimony and the persecution he has faced since becoming a believer has been shared in Moroccan media.
By Julia A. Seymour
2/17/2014 Morocco (World) A Moroccan appeals court dropped charges against Mohamed El Baladi, a Muslim convert to Christianity, ruling that it lacked evidence that he coerced a Muslim into accepting Christ.
Officials arrested El Baladi last August and before he had legal representation, a court in Taounate convicted him of “shaking the faith of a Muslim” and sentenced him to 30 months in prison. His appeal was moved 40 miles away to Fez, Morocco.
Christians in the north African country feared a possible crackdown as the government confiscated El Baladi’s Christian materials and pressured him to reveal where he got them.
At El Baladi’s appeal hearing in October, 11 human rights lawyers appeared on his behalf and persuaded the judge to postpone the trial until December. According to International Christian Concern’s Todd Daniels, it was postponed again because the accusers did not show up at the December hearing.
Morning Star News reported that on Feb. 6, the appeals court overturned the conviction, nullifying El Baladi’s sentence, and said as of Feb. 13, the case would be closed. World Watch Monitor noted that the court acknowledged El Baladi had engaged in conversation about his faith, but there was no proof of an attempt to coerce a conversion.

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