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ICC Note: An Ethiopian Court has upheld the arrest and sentencing of and Evangelical man who was accused of causing “causing outrage to religious peace and feeling”. He made statements that the Orthodox Churches replica of the Ark of the Covenant is not holy. He is now sentenced to serve seven months in jail.

03/23/2018 Sudan (World Watch Monitor) – An Ethiopian court has turned down the appeal of an Evangelical Christian sentenced to seven months in prison for “causing outrage to religious peace and feeling”.

In its verdict, published on 19 March, the court upheld an earlier sentence given by a judge in the southern city of Arba Minch on 2 February.

Temesgen Mitiku Mezemir, 24, the leader of an Evangelical fellowship group, was found guilty of defaming the tabot, a replica of the Ark of the Covenant sacred to Orthodox Christians.

World Watch Monitor understands the charges against him were brought by members of the predominant Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), to which just under half of Ethiopia’s population belongs.

The EOC is a symbol of Ethiopian national identity and its leaders play a prominent role in state and religious affairs. However relations between the EOC and the fast-growing Evangelical churches are often strained, characterised by mutual suspicion.

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For interviews with Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org