Two Christians Jailed in Ethiopia for Distributing Bibles

By Abebe Kibret and Troy Augustine

3/25/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Two Ethiopian Christian men are now free on bail after being detained for 13 days and 10 days, respectively, for the distribution of Bibles in the Melka Belo region prison.

On Wednesday, March 10, authorities detained Gemechu Jorgo just before he was scheduled to depart the region. During his detainment, he reportedly suffered physical abuse from District Administrator Jamal Adam. Jorgo was reportedly slapped in the face three times with the Bible he was carrying by the district administrator after Jorgo asked him to uphold the constitutional rights of Christians to practice their faith freely.

Officials released Jorgo on March 23 following an intervention from a group of local Christian church leaders. Sheikh Amin spent ten days in the same prison before being released the same day as Jorgo. During his imprisonment, Amin faced continual pressure from prison officials to deny his Christian faith.

Amin is a recent convert from Islam to Christianity, having previously served as the head of a mosque in Burka Negeya. The two were distributing Bibles to villagers who had requested the materials when they were detained.

Sources reported to International Christian Concern (ICC) that a local militia leader, Sufi Adam, has been harassing the Christian community, including Jorgo, for a number of years. ICC has been told that Adam has a pattern of confiscating Christian literature and imprisoning Christians.

In Melka Belo, security officials are agitating and mobilizing local Muslims against Christians that actively practice their faith.

Jorgo and Amin are seeking legal protection from the Eastern Harerghe Zone-level administration from Muslim officials restricting their Ethiopian constitutional rights to freely practice their religion.

Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for Africa, says, “We encourage readers to voice their concerns about this type of activity with Eastern Harerghe Zone Administrator Demise who can be reached by phone at +251915321181. Please also continue to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Ethiopia.  It is alarming to think that in a majority-Christian nation such as Ethiopia, persecution like this is occurring.”

For interviews Please Contact Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for Africa: rm-africa@persecution.org

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