Lawyers begin hunger strike
Fifteen lawyers who have been prevented from seeing their clients – a group of 24 Chinese Christians arrested in Henan Province earlier this month – have started a hunger strike outside the Nanle County Public Security Bureau.
China Aid reports that of the 24 Christians detained, seven have been released, but 17 remain in custody and have been denied permission to see their lawyers. It is still unclear on what charges they are being detained.
Retired Iranian pastor jailed
A retired Iranian pastor has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.
Rev. Vruir Avanessian, 61, who is of Armenian descent, was found guilty on Dec. 5 of anti-government activities and promotion of ideas contrary to the sanctity of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The pastor, who is reported to be unwell, has 20 days to appeal.
Source: Mohabat News
Bishops arrested at Dalit protest
Bishops were arrested by police in India during a protest against the discrimination of the Christian Dalit minority.
Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi was among those arrested during the protest on Dec. 11. He and several other bishops were taken to a local police station and later released, reports UCA.
Protestors were demanding a revamp of India’s constitution, which guarantees a reservation of government jobs and places in educational institutions for underprivileged classes, but Christians and Muslims among these classes are denied such benefits on the grounds that their religions do not recognise the caste system.
Iranians released two weeks early
Two Iranian Christians have been released from jail two weeks before the end of their sentences.
Farhad Sabokrouh, pastor of the Assemblies of God Church in Ahwaz, and Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, were released on December 4, seven months after their incarceration for converting from Islam to Christianity, proselytising Muslims, and propagating against the Islamic regime through evangelism.
Source: Mohabat News
Séléka attacks hospital in CAR
Séléka forces attacked a hospital in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui on Friday, killing at least a dozen patients, Al Jazeera reports. Gunmen pulled patients from the hospital and shot them. The hospital has been abandoned. The attack occurred as additional French forces began deploying throughout the northwest sector of the country, as authorised by the United Nations Security Council vote on Thursday.