Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News

Saudis deport Pentecostals to India after raiding illegal church

Two Indian Christians of a thriving Pentecostal house church in Saudi Arabia are back in their home country after being unexpectedly released from a Saudi prison, a church official has confirmed.

Vasantha Sekhar Vara, 28, and Nese Yohan, 31, members of Riyadh’s “Rejoice in the Church of the Lord” congregation, were detained in January while organizing a Bible study group in one of the apartments where their 70-member church of mainly Indian nationals gathered, according to Worthy News, an internet news site.

Christian worship is illegal in Saudi Arabia, where only Muslim services are allowed by law.

Both served 45-days of “pre-trial detention” on charges of attempted Christian conversion.

They were later moved from the police station to a jail in Riyadh, the capital, where they were held without trial, Worthy News learned.

Yet, “On July 12 they were released by authorities and send back to India,” said a church elder. Worthy News did not identify the official, citing security concerns as his church has come under pressure to halt its services. Homes of church members have been raided by Saudi security forces, according to a witness and pictures seen by a Worthy News’ reporter.

“Saudi religious police and other police also confiscated Bibles and other christian literature as well as the church’s sound installation and instruments, such as guitars, during the [January] raid,” the elder said.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    They should consider themselves lucky they weren’t imprisoned!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment kenneth

    I don’t suppose India would agree to take our pentecostals as well…..?

  • Rob Kerby, Senior Editor

    Now, now, play nice! Three different Pentecostals impacted my life in dramatic ways — the late David Wilkerson, then believe it or not, I actually got chewed out by the late Keith Green. Then there was a nutty gal named Mrs. Townes who convinced me I was just a mean-hearted newspaperman. I left all three Pentecostals never to be the same.

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