07/05/2021 Cyprus (International Christian Concern) – In late June, Christian worker Ryan Keating’s first court hearing was delayed until August 17th and he was allowed to travel. Originally the hearing was scheduled for June 28th, the news and full details of which had not reached Keating or his lawyer until the 24th giving a mere four days to prepare his legal defense. Keating’s home was raided back in late January of this year, and he is being charged with illegal importation of New Testaments, Bibles, and Christian literature, along with wine production without a license, which he had previously gained from local authorities, but has since been revoked.
Up until recently, Keating was living and working in Turkey, but was targeted by the media for his faith activities until eventually being deported by the government. Having a passion for the Turkish people, Keating continued his work in Northern Cyprus. Keating faces extensive fines if convicted (nearly $72,000 USD). Turkish Cypriot officials confiscated his passport for the duration of the trial, but he did eventually obtain special permission to travel between July 9th and September 23rd.
This case is no small matter for Northern Cyprus, which is occupied by Turkey, as it touches on core religious freedom issues. Keating has evidence to show he did not illegally import his religious materials and if he is convicted it will be a gross abuse and overreach of power by Turkish authorities setting a dangerous trend for all Cypriot Christians.
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