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Christian fined for importing Bible and crucifix keyrings

Fri 11 May 2018
By Eno Adeogun

A court in Algeria has fined a Christian man for carrying a Bible and other Christian items at an airport.

Idir Hamdad, 29, was arrested on April 2016, following a complaint by the customs office.

He was convicted on 28th September 2017 and given the maximum sentence of six months in prison, as well as a fine of $175 for "importing unlicensed goods".

 

His prison sentence has since been overturned.

Hamdad's lawyer, Nadjib Sadek, said he had expected all the charges to be dropped and called the verdict "ridiculous".

"To condemn a Christian for carrying about 20 keyrings - including four or five which have crucifixes - and six scarves is an aberration in view of Article 365 of the customs code," Sadek told World Watch Monitor.

"These objects are neither subject to authorisation for importation, nor expensive."

Hamdad - who grew up as a Muslim but converted to Christianity - explained what led to his eight-hour detention.

"As they opened my luggage, all of a sudden I found myself surrounded by a multitude of police and customs officers," Hamdad told World Watch Monitor.

"One of them began to gesticulate in all directions as if to attract attention. They insulted me and treated me with all the names.

He claims he was told by the airport officials to renounce his Christian faith and say the Islamic confession of faith (shahada) in order to be allowed to leave.

Hamdad's lawyer had insisted they will appeal the fine.

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