Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Send Christmas cards to imprisoned, persecuted believers

Send a Christmas card to a believer among the Persecuted Church. Your words are never wasted when it comes to writing a letter to our brothers and sisters of the persecuted Church. Mail sent by concerned believers can have a profound impact on those who are suffering and even on their persecutors.  You can be an encouragement by sending a card or a letter to bring them hope. 

Your letters to prisoners can do five things:
1.       Provide tremendous encouragement. Letters touch our persecuted brethren right where they are, demonstrating that they're not forgotten and that someone somewhere cares for them and is praying for them.
2.       Indicate to authorities that you are aware of a Christian’s situation, and you care!
3.       Testify of the love and unity found among followers of Jesus Christ worldwide. This is especially true when letters are opened and censored. God can use your letter to work in the lives of those in authority.
4.       Prove our persecuted family is not forgotten. Through isolation and loneliness, the devil can prey on imprisoned Christians’ faith. When a prisoner receives a letter, whether they can read it or not, they know someone cares.
5.       Lead to better treatment of Christian prisoners. Prison officials and government authorities know someone is watching them.

Christmas Card Tips


Why not add some sparkle with a sprinkling of Christmas confetti in your Christmas cards?  Get the kids involved by cutting out Christmas shapes and words to add to a family or Sunday school card. Christmas is a particularly great time to remind people God’s hope and promise through Jesus’ birth … so in the card you send you could mention the Bible verses that reflect this great Christmas hope.

In his teaching to the disciples about the Judgment, Jesus said: "I was in prison and you came to visit me," and in response people would say, "when did we see you in prison and visit you?" Jesus connected serving Him and serving those who suffer trials for His Name by replying, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" Matthew 25:31-46.

The people listed below – church leaders, persecuted Christians, and their families – benefit tremendously from your letters or cards.  So, take a few minutes today to write to a prisoner, either individually or as part of a small group – even a short note will bring such hope and encouragement!

It's easy to get into card writing, and you don’t have to do it just at Christmas. Here are some quick ideas for all year.

  • Choose one or two people each month and sign cards for them at the end of your Church service or Sunday School class meeting.
  • Sign a card each week or month in your family devotions, tell the children how the person you are writing is suffering for the Name of Jesus, and let the kids draw a picture or write a note to include in the card.
  • Make a regular time to write to those you feel led to encourage.
  • Pass a card around your small group and you could have dozens of people communicating love and support to a brother or sister on the other side of the world.
  • Get social and throw a card writing party with friends.
Whatever you choose to do, this is grassroots, tangible, effective encouragement and it is so easy to help.

Frequently asked questions:


Is it OK to include Christian greetings and Scripture verses?

It is fine to insert appropriate Scripture verses and Christian greetings such as “God bless you,” “Merry Christmas,” or May the peace of Christ be with you.” Writing relevant Bible references (book, chapter, and verse) is useful for those who are unable to read English so they can look up the verses of encouragement and hope in their own language.

What if I can only write in English?

It is fine to write in English. Please print or write clearly. Your note must be legible to be translated. Many people study English, so there will likely be someone to translate your letter. Even if no one receiving your card is able to read English, receiving a card can still bring them hope and encouragement by reminding them that they are not forgotten. Add Scripture references which they can look up themselves and know what encouragement you had on your heart when you wrote them. However, if you can write in the language of the person, even just a phrase or two, please do so. They will appreciate your effort.

Will my card or letter actually reach the prisoner I write?

Although some letters may be intercepted, most will reach their destination. Even if the letter doesn’t reach a prisoner, it can still have a powerful effect by reminding governments that a prisoner’s case is not going unnoticed by the rest of the world.

Is it safe to include my name and address on my cards?

The safest possible route to take is to include only your name and country. However, as long as you are happy to receive a reply, including your contact details is not a problem. In fact, a pen pal relationship with someone who is persecuted for their faith can be extremely inspiring for you. However, because you are an American, you may receive letters requesting financial help. Before you respond to a request of any kind, ask Pastor Gene about it first.

Do my cards and letters actually make a difference?

Yes! These brothers and sisters actually receive these letters and are greatly encouraged and blessed by the cards and letters they have received. Jose Luis Garcia Paneque, a former Cuban prisoner now in Spain wrote to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (Canada), “You cannot imagine the value of a postcard to someone in my situation and thanks to God; his Angels broke through to deliver the sign, the message of a father who never abandons his children.”

What should I write?

Share your name and that you know about the prisoner’s situation.
Be respectful and encouraging.
Tell prisoners that they are not forgotten and that you are praying for them.
Include a Scripture verse.

What should I NOT write?

Do NOT criticize a government or discuss politics, as this could place Christian prisoners in danger. In fact, do not mention any politics.
Do NOT include your mailing address. (You may state your name and country.)
Do NOT send money or respond to requests for money. Unscrupulous individuals, claiming to be the prisoner or a family member, occasionally steal letters and solicit funds.
Do NOT mention your source of information.

Anything else I need to know?

You can send notes, postcards, bookmarks and attractive Christian greeting cards. Express your Christian love and mention that you are praying. You may also include a snapshot of yourself, your family or prayer group.

Sources: Voice of the Martyrs Canada Letter Writing Guide (http://www.persecution.net/download/prisonlst.pdf) and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (UK) Connect and Encourage Winter 2011 (http://docs-eu.livesiteadmin.com/c8880e0f-f6ed-4585-8f09-4e4b6d11e698/csw-resources-connect--and-encourage-winter-2011.pdf).

China


More Christians have been and continue to be detained in China than in any other country. The government officially recognizes five religious groups: Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Protestant and Catholic. It strictly controls the Church through the state-monitored Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and the Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA). During the Cultural Revolution, even these submissive structures were banned, and all religious activity was forced underground, giving birth to the house-church movement. Today, there is much debate related to the current number of Chinese Christians, as the government releases only data from TSPM or CPA churches. While the government says there are officially 28.6 million Christians, experts estimate the real number to lie somewhere between 80 and 130 million.

GONG BANGKUN

No. 3 Division, Section 6
Jiangling District
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434110
People’s Republic of China

Mr. Gong Bangkun, a member of the South China Church, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2002.

ZHONG CHEN

Shu Yang County Prison
Jiang Su Province
People’s Republic of China

Zhong Chen was arrested for “illegal evangelistic activities and disturbing social safety” in 2000, at age 32. Her prison term is unknown.

YI CHUANFU

No. 2 Division, Section 6
Jiangling District
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434110
People’s Republic of China

Mr. Yi Chuanfu, a member of the South China Church, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2002.

DONG DAOLAI

No. 1 Division, Section 6
Jiangling District
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434110
People’s Republic of China

Mr. Dong Daolai, a member of the South China Church, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2002.

CHI FAMIN

Yongchuan Female Prison
Yongchuan City, Chongqing City 402164
People’s Republic of China

Chi Famin was handed a 10-year sentence for being a member of an “evil cult” (refers to South China Church) by the People’s Court of Yunyang County, Chongqing City, on May 14, 2002.

XU FUMING

Jingzhou Prison
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434020
People’s Republic of China

Mr. Xu Fuming, a member of the South China Church, was sentenced to life in prison in 2002.

KIM KYUNG IL

#104-1004 Mailbox
Tiebei Prison
Changchun City
Jilin Province
People’s Republic of China

In 1997, Kim Kyung Il and his brother crossed the border from North Korea into China. The following year, Kim met a pastor, became a Christian and joined a Bible study group. Under the leadership of this pastor, Kim served refugees from North Korea and started Bible studies in the Chengdoo region. He later helped send refugees to South Korea.

Kim was overseer of a safe house that discipled over 70 refugees. When a large number of the group was arrested by the Chinese police, he fled with some of the remaining refugees to the China-Mongolian border. He and his wife were captured, but the rest of the group continued their journey in the desert. Without their leader, they wandered for two days and finally crossed the border into Mongolia, where they reached the South Korean embassy and received passage to South Korea.

Kim and his wife were sent back to North Korea and placed in prison. His pregnant wife was hit in the stomach with a stick, forcing an abortion. In the prison, there were many inmates who knew Kim well, but they protected him by pretending not to know him. Thus the authorities did not realize how involved he was with helping North Koreans escape. He was released after serving only a short sentence. Those who protected his identity while in prison asked him to work harder to let the world know about their situation.

Kim’s wife was released from prison shortly after the forced abortion. She escaped to South Korea with other family members. After his release, Kim fled to China and worked at another safe house. He continued to disciple refugees and assisted them in escaping to South Korea. In April 2002, he was caught by the Chinese police. Since his arrest, he has been in prison in China.
In early 2011, VOM contacts received word that Kim’s sentence was expected to be commuted in March and that he may be free in September. As soon as Kim is released, he'll face deportation to North Korea. There, he will almost certainly be executed. Our contact writes, "The only hope he may have is a huge outpouring of public awareness on this issue, which might at least delay his execution once he's returned."

Peng Ming

No. 4 Prison Branch
Hubei Provincial Han Yang Prison
Cai Dian District, Wuhan City
Hubei Province
People’s Republic of China

Peng Ming was sentenced to life in prison by Chinese officials in October 2005 on spurious charges of engaging in terrorism activities. He has suffered beatings while in prison and has been denied medical treatment. His elderly parents who live in Sweden have made repeated requests to the Chinese government for their son’s freedom. They fear they will not live to see his release.

XIAO YANLI

No. 2 Division, Section 2
Wuhan Female Prison
Wuhan City, Hubei Province 430032
People’s Republic of China

Ms. Xiao Yanli, a member of the South China Church, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2002.

Alimujiang Yimiti

Section 11,
Xinjiang No. 3 Prison
No. 1339, Dongzhan Road
Urumqi City
Xinjiang, Uyguhur Autonomous Region 830013
People’s Republic of China

Alimujiang was working as a project manager for a British company, Jirehouse, when it was targeted in a series of closures of foreign businesses belonging to Christians in Xinjiang in September 2007. In January 2008, “Alim,” a Muslim convert to Christianity from the Uyghur people group, was arrested and accused of “subversion of the national government and endangering national security,” a crime punishable by death. On May 27, 2008, Alim’s case went to trial but it was referred back to the Public Security Bureau’s prosecutors due to insufficient evidence.

On October 27, 2009, Alim was handed a 15-year prison sentence for “providing state secrets to overseas organizations.” In November 2010, the Higher People’s Court of Xinjiang accepted an appeal by Alim’s wife and mother and decided to retry his case. In February 2011, the Higher People’s Court of Xinjiang notified Alim that they upheld the original sentence of 15 years of imprisonment. Alim is being detained “solely because of his faith” according to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

HU YING

Jingzhou Prison
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434020
People’s Republic of China

Mr. Hu Ying, a leader in the South China Church, was sentenced to life in prison in 2002.

LI YING

No. 2 Division, Section 3 Wuhan Female Prison
Wuhan City, Hubei Province 430032
People’s Republic of China

Journalist Li Ying is serving a 15-year prison sentence for helping publish an underground church magazine. She was arrested in April 2001 alongside 16 others from the South China Church. She was condemned to death in December 2001. Her current sentence was handed down during a retrial ordered by the Hubei Provincial Supreme Court in October 2002. Li has been arrested many times and spent a year in prison in 1996. She cannot have a Bible and is forced to work 15 hours each day on materials to be exported out of China.

WANG ZHAOMIN

Team #2, Qishan Lao Gai Camp
Datong District
Huainan City, Anhui Province
People’s Republic of China

Wang Zhaomin has been imprisoned since June 1999.

AIQING ZHU

The Public Security Department
Xiang Xiang City
Hu Nan Province
People’s Republic of China

Aiqing Zhu was arrested for “illegal evangelistic activities” on June 9, 1996, at age 40. She was sentenced to a 20-year prison term.

Colombia


Pastor Isaias Prasca

Iglesia Cristo Reg
AIEC
Calle 15 #15-76
Tierralta
Cordoba
Colombia

Pastor Isaias Prasca and his family have received death threats from armed groups operating in their area. He continues to minister in areas hard hit by the violence and works with particularly vulnerable communities. Letters and cards serve both as an encouragement to him and his congregation, reminding them that their situation is not forgotten. Additionally it sends a message to the armed groups that Colombian pastors and their families are part of a worldwide body that cares very much about what happens to them. This can often mean the difference between life and death.

Cuba


Maranatha First Baptist Church of Holguin

Primera Iglesia Bautista Maranatha
Fomento 298 e/ Marti y Luz Caballero
Ciudad de Holguin
Holguin 80100, Cuba

The Maranatha First Baptist Church  was first visited by provincial officials from the Ministry of Housing in April 2011 and informed in a highly intimidating manner that their buildings would be confiscated on a permanent basis by state authorities. The 1,000-strong church is based in the town of Holquin, in northwest Cuba, and has a very active local ministry working with vulnerable members of the community such as the elderly and the disabled. The church has also planted many new congregations through their outreach work in the region, and runs a thriving youth ministry. Despite being registered, the church now faces confiscation threats.

Pastor Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso

Rivadeneira 66
Taguayabon
Valla Clara 54260
Cuba

Pastor Lleonart Barroso is a Baptist pastor in central Cuba who has gotten in trouble with the government for ministering to human rights and democracy activists. Authorities have put pressure on church leaders to remove him from his leadership position and have tried to isolate Pastor Barroso and his family.

Rvdo. Roberto Rodríguez

Princesa No. 52
e/Laborde y Gene Cardenas
42110 Matanzas
Cuba

In answer to prayer, Rev. Rodríguez was cleared of the charges against him in September 2011. He and his family continue to live in difficult circumstances and have been unable to return to their home.

Pastor Jose Miroel Matos Guilarte y wife Odelkys Breijo

Calle 21 #23 entre 8 y 10
Reparto el Triangulo
Colombia, Victoria Las Tunas
Cuba

This pastor and his family have been targets of harassment and threats from Cuban government authorities and would be much encouraged by letters and cards.

Pastor Tony Milhet Toirac and wife Gloria Pagán Gonzalez

Eduardo Marmol #91 (oeste)
e/ Maceo y Honorato del Castillo
Ciego de Avila 2
Cuba

This pastor and his family have been targets of harassment and threats from Cuban government authorities and would be much encouraged by letters and cards.

Pastor Yogly Gonzalez Peréz

Calle Esperanza 214 Apt 12
e/ Florida Y Alanbique
Habana Vieja
Cuba

In 2009, Pastor Yogly Gonzalez Peréz, age 32, and his family were forcibly evicted from the home he had inherited from his uncle by the Cuban National Revolutionary Police and the National Institute of Housing. Police forced their way into the house when he opened the door in the morning, confiscated all his belongings and put them into a truck. They forced him and his family, including his four year old child, to leave, sealed the house, where they had lived for fifteen years. They have been homeless ever since and have had to rely on the hospitality of others. He is currently living with his mother in Havana.

Democratic Republic of Congo


Pastor Fernando Kutino

Prison Centrale de Makala
CPRK
Kinshasa/Selembao
Democratic Republic of Congo

Evangelical church leader Fernando Kutino was arrested in May 2006 and sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment for the illegal possession of firearms, criminal conspiracy and attempted murder. The charges were introduced after the trial was underway, and the trial itself was inadequate, lasting for only nine sittings despite the complexity and gravity of these charges. After interventions by supporters of the persecuted church, his case was reopened Dec 12, 2007, and he was sentenced this time to ten years’ imprisonment.

Eritrea


There was a general freedom to practice religion in Eritrea until 2002, when the government announced it would recognize only four religious communities: the Orthodox Church of Eritrea, Sunni Islam, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran-affiliated Evangelical Church of Eritrea.
From 2002 to 2010, the government has jailed, tortured and killed numerous Eritreans for political and religious reasons, and tortured and killed many of them extra-judicially. Today, it is estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 Christians are in Eritrean prisons. Believers face deplorable conditions, including torture. Many are held in metal shipping containers with no ventilation or toilet facilities. Of thousands of Christians in detention, not one has been charged with a crime or faced trial.

HAILE NAIZGI

Karsheli Prison 
2nd Police Station
Zone 7 Northern East
Asmara, Zoba Maakel
Eritrea

Prior to his imprisonment on May 23, 2004, Rev. Haile Naizgi was the chairman of the board of the Full-Gospel Church of Eritrea, the largest Pentecostal church in the nation. Previously, he was a senior accountant with World Vision in Eritrea. Naizgi, who is married with two children, was one the key organizers of the Church’s activities in Eritrea.

KIDANE WELDOU

Karsheli Prison 
2nd Police Station
Zone 7 Northern East
Asmara, Zoba Maakel
Eritrea

Pastor Kidane Weldou was imprisoned on March 18, 2005. He was the senior pastor at Asmara Full-Gospel Church. His wife and children have been unable to visit him in prison, and his exact whereabouts remain unknown. Formerly, he was a high school biology teacher. He was also involved in many gospel-related activities among students and professionals from various churches in the nation.

 DR. KIFLU GEBREMESKEL

Karsheli Prison 
2nd Police Station
Zone 7 Northern East
Asmara, Zoba Maakel
Eritrea

Dr. Kiflu Gebremeskel was the pastor of South-West Full-Gospel Church in Asmara until his imprisonment on May 23, 2004. Dr. Kiflu, a former dean of science and lecturer of mathematics at Asmara University, left his job to serve the Lord as a pastor and Bible teacher in 1999. He has a doctorate in mathematics from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Ill. Dr. Kiflu was also the chairman of the Eritrean Evangelical Alliance, a union of all the churches belonging to the Baptist, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Pentecostal and other Charismatic churches.

Iran


Iran has the largest Shi’a Islam population in the world. Christians comprise one-half of 1 percent of the population. The Iranian attitude toward religion can seem contradictory—very chaste in public but much less so in private. The courts can impose the death sentence on male apostates and life imprisonment for female apostates. Effectively, Iran is a religious dictatorship where little of consequence can occur without the approval of the Guardian Council of Mullahs.
Religious persecution of certain minorities has intensified since 2005. This is aimed at the Baha’i, Sufi Muslims and Christians, especially believers from a Muslim background. Almost all Christian activity is illegal, especially when it occurs in Persian languages—from evangelism to Bible training to publishing Scripture and Christian books. Yet, the regime’s harsh treatment of Christians only further fuels the flames of church growth. 

YOUCEF NADARKHANI

Lakan Prison
Rasht
Islamic Republic of Iran

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009, after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the Qur’an. In October 2010, Pastor Youcef, a leader in the evangelical Church of Iran, was sentenced to death for apostasy. He was transferred to Lakan Prison, which is supervised by the Political Police of the Islamic Republic. In June 2011, the Iranian Supreme Court upheld and confirmed the death sentence. In early July 2011, his lawyer received word that the case was being returned to the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province and that the Supreme Court would annul the sentence if Pastor Youcef renounced his faith in Christ. The annulment is dependent on him recanting his faith and embracing Islam. The Gilan Court, in an unusual move, wrote two letters to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini to ask for his help in deciding Pastor Youcef’s fate. The court says it will make a decision by mid-December if the Ayatollah does not respond. If Pastor Youcef is executed, his death would be the first judicial execution of a Christian in Iran in two decades.

MEHDI “PETROS” FOROUTON

10KM after Abelabad 
Pirbanu Prison
Shiraz, Farsi State,
Islamic Republic of Iran

Mehdi “Petros” Forouton, a 27-year-old pastor in Iran, was arrested in January 2010 and charged with crimes against national security and blasphemy against Islam. Although acquitted of the blasphemy charge and released on bail a month later, Pastor Forouton was sentenced to one year in prison and told to report to prison soon. Unlike most people who wait for an arrest warrant, Pastor Forouton reported to prison on Sept. 25, 2011, to begin serving his sentence. Almost immediately, Pastor Forouton was transferred to a camp for recovering drug addicts in Shiraz, often called “the end of the road” for addicts and drug dealers.  By mid-October 2011, Pastor Petros was placed in solitary confinement for evangelizing fellow prisoners. He was allowed back into the general prison population the first of November, 2011.

BEHNAM IRANI

Karaj  Prison
Albourz State
Islamic Republic of Iran

Behnam Irani, a 41-year-old pastor from Kraj, Iran, was convicted of crimes against national security in January 2011 and sentenced to one year in prison. After voluntarily surrendering to authorities on May 31 to begin his sentence, he learned that he would be forced to serve five years in connection with a previous conviction. Officers from the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS) raided Irani’s house church on April 14, 2010, and assaulted him before taking him into custody. Although he was released on bail two months after his arrest, he later received the one-year prison sentence. Irani was first arrested in December 2006 and tried for crimes against national security. He was released in January 2007 but was soon re-arrested, tried and sentenced to five years in prison. Irani was never called to serve the sentence that is now being held against him.

Lao Peoples Democratic Republic


Communist persecution of Christians in Laos was especially harsh between 1975 and 1978. Restrictions eased afterward, but churches and Christians are still watched and targeted. Buddhism has regained much of its old influence, but is heavily syncretised with animism. Persecution tends to happen in cycles and is expressed on a local or regional level as much as on a national scale. In all cases, though, it can be intense and ruthless towards the Church. Missionaries are forbidden.

THONG CHAN

Thong Chan
Ban Na Prison
Muang Xai, Udomxai
Lao Peoples Democratic Republic

Mr. Thong Chan was a district governor and found Christ through the Far Eastern Broadcasting Company ministry in 1997. He was arrested in 1999, after his house church started growing in numbers. His criminal conviction was based on “preaching the gospel, being a traitor to the nation and speaking badly about the nation.” He is reportedly sickly and unable to walk without help due to his time spent in prison labour. He faces 11 years in prison.

Pakistan


Pakistan is an Islamic republic with a Sunni majority. Despite its infringement of the constitution, Shariah law is increasingly applied—even to Christians and Hindus—especially in areas where Islamist groups have control or influence. While there is a notable degree of religious freedom promised to minorities by law, non-Muslims and non-Sunnis must practice their faith cautiously. Christians in Pakistan face severe opposition from militant Islamic groups, including imprisonment, torture and even death.

Many Pakistani Christians are falsely accused under the Blasphemy Law, or Law 295. Law 295a, blaspheming Islam, and Law 295b, blaspheming the Qur’an, are criminal offenses. Law 295c makes blaspheming Mohammed a crime punishable by death. Courtrooms packed with militants have often pressured judges into returning a guilty verdict or continuing trials indefinitely. Christians are regularly barred from jobs or face troubles from their employers and co-workers. Christian merchants are often harassed.

ASIA BIBI

District Jail 
Sheikhupura
Punjab
Pakistan

Asia Bibi, 38, was arrested by police on allegations of blasphemy in the village of Ittanwali, Punjab province. On June 19, 2009, some Muslim women who work with Bibi on a farm owned by a local Muslim engaged in a heated discussion with Bibi about Islam. Bibi told them that Christ died on the cross for their sins and asked them what Mohammed had done for them. "Our Christ is the true prophet of God and yours is not true," Bibi said. The Muslim women became angry and began to beat her. Some men then locked her in a room. Local Christians urged the police not to file blasphemy charges; however, police claimed that they must go forward due to pressure from local Muslim leaders.

On November 8, 2010, Bibi was sentenced to death. She is the first Pakistani woman ever to receive a death sentence for blasphemy. Her attorney has filed an appeal. In December 2010, a hard-line cleric offered a US$6,000 reward to anyone who will kill Asia Bibi if the government does not put her to death. In January 2011, the governor of Punjab province was assassinated by his bodyguard for speaking out against the blasphemy law under which Asia was sentenced. The governor had recently met with Asia in jail. In March 2011, Pakistan’s Minister of Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the Cabinet, was assassinated while on his way to work. Bhatti had also spoken out against the country’s blasphemy law.

IMRAN GHAFUR

Central Jail of Faisalabad
Faisalabad
Pakistan

On July 1, 2009, Pakistani police arrested Imran Ghafur in Punjab province after Muslims accused him of burning pages of the Qur’an. While cleaning his brother’s retail shop, Imran removed the trash he had collected, intending to burn some of it. While burning the trash, pages of an Islamic book flew into the fire and burned. Imran’s neighbour, Haji Liaqat, saw the burned pages of the Islamic book and alerted other Muslims in the area.

Imran and his father were severely beaten before police arrested Imran. Following the arrest, news of the incident spread throughout the city, and angry Muslims threw stones at the police station where Imran was being held. “Give the death sentence to him who disgraces the Holy Qur’an, and hang him who disgraces the Holy Qur’an,” the Muslims said. “Christians are dogs; Imran is a dog,” they shouted.

On July 2, 2009, Imran was moved to a jail. “The situation is very tense in Hajwari town, where the Christian families live,” said a Voice of the Martyrs contact. “Haji Liaqat and his friends are saying that they will not allow Imran’s family to live in the colony or run their business.” Imran and his family manage businesses in the area and are actively involved with other local Christians.

Augustine Ashiq ‘Kingri’ Masih

c/o All Pakistan Minorities Alliance
House 1/B
Street 95
1-84 Islamabad
Pakistan

Sentenced to death in 2002 for blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed, Kingri is still in prison eight years later, pending appeal.

Turkmenistan


Constitutionally, there is freedom of religion in Turkmenistan. In practice, this is limited to Sunni Islam or Russian Orthodoxy―all other forms of Islam or minority religions are subject to severe repression and harassment. Hostility against any non-Orthodox Christian activity has persisted for more than 10 years. Almost every foreign Christian has been expelled. Several national pastors have been exiled, beaten, heavily fined or imprisoned. Congregations continue to be intimidated and forbidden to meet. Registration is a difficult, near-impossible process, and when it does occur, it subjects the church to greater surveillance. Unregistered religious gatherings of any size or kind are strictly forbidden.

ILMURAD NURLIEV

746222 Lebap vilayet
Seydi uchr. LB-K/12
Turkmenistan

Pentecostal pastor Ilmurad Nurliev was arrested at his home in Mary, southeastern Turkmenistan, on August 27, 2010. He was charged with extracting money from three people. His wife, Maya, and church members strongly deny the allegations. During his trial, several witnesses against the 45-year-old pastor were coerced into testifying. Pastor Nurliev was sentenced to four years in prison, and his wife was forced to pay “compensation” immediately, or risk being kicked out of their home. Pastor Nurliev was also ordered to undergo “forcible medical treatment” to “wean him off his narcotic dependency,” another claim that his wife and church members reject.

In December 2010, Pastor Nurliev was transferred to Seyi Labour Camp, known for its use of psychotropic drugs on prisoners. A former prisoner in the camp described conditions “like something from the Middle Ages.” The pastor is a diabetic, and his family is concerned about his health while he is in prison. He has no access to medical treatment. Instead of working in the camp’s brick kiln, the pastor is being permitted to work as a barber, serving both prisoners and camp staff. Prison authorities have denied Pastor Nurliev a Bible.

Uzbekistan


Uzbekistan is a secular state, promoting a moderate, tightly controlled form of Islam. The growing Islamist movement is handled with venom by the state. Christians are third-party victims of this struggle. Ethnic Uzbek Christians, in particular, receive harsh treatment.
Religious communities are required to officially register. Only approved religious organizations—Muslim groups, Jews, Russian Orthodox and some Protestant groups—can be registered, and registration is frequently refused or delayed. Police make surprise visits to churches and forcibly close those who cannot immediately produce registration papers. Evangelism, missionary activity and religious instruction are forbidden by law. Uzbek Christians have been fined, beaten and imprisoned for their faith.

TOHAR HAYDAROV

UYa 64/49 
Otryad 13
Pos. Shaikh-Ali
G. Karshi, Kashkadarya Region
180020
Uzbekistan

On March 9, 2010, a criminal court in Uzbekistan sentenced 27-year-old Tohar Haydarov to 10 years in prison for the “illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities.” Members of the Baptist church in Uzbekistan insist that the charges are fabricated and that Haydarov’s sentence was punishment for his religious activity. It is unclear why Haydarov received a 10-year sentence. Baptists insist that police planted drugs on Haydarov, and church members insist that he is “a man with a pure conscience and an honest Christian.” Haydarov has appealed his sentence.

Vietnam


Vietnam is one of the world’s few remaining Communist nations. Though Vietnam's constitution provides for freedom of worship, the government continues to restrict organized activities of many religious groups. Only government-controlled religious organizations are allowed. The Southern Evangelical Church of Vietnam and the smaller Evangelical Church of Vietnam North are two of the largest officially recognized Protestant churches. Unregistered churches and ethnic minority Christians still suffer harassment, discrimination and, sometimes, outright persecution.

Y WO NIE

Nam Ha Prison, Team 27 
Ba Sao Village
Kim Bang District
Ha Nam Province
Vietnam

Pastor Y Wo Nie was arrested on August 18, 2004, for leading a demonstration demanding more religious freedom and the release of property confiscated by the Vietnamese government. He received a nine-year sentence.

Pastor Y Du / Pastor Y Co

Doi 7, Phan Trai K3
Trai giam so 5
Huyen Yen Ding
Ting Thang Hoa
Vietnam

Pastors Y Du and Y Co are pastors of small congregations of an unregistered denomination from the majority-Christian Ede ethnic group in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. They were arrested Jan. 27, 2010, and sentenced on Nov. 15, 2010. It is believed their charges are spurious and they are being targeted for their Christian work. Pastor Y Du was charged with being part of the Degar separatist movement and received six years’ imprisonment followed by three years’ house arrest for “undermining the state.”

Pastor Y Co received four years’ imprisonment followed by two years’ house arrest for “undermining the state.” Prior to their trials, both pastors’ wives were visited at home by police and told that if they would renounce their faith in Jesus Christ their husbands would be released. Both men are being beaten severely in prison. Their wives are not able to visit them and are worried their husbands may die in prison.

Addresses to cut out for mailings


GONG BANGKUN
No. 3 Division, Section 6
Jiangling District
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434110
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

ZHONG CHEN
Shu Yang County Prison
Jiang Su Province
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

YI CHUANFU
No. 2 Division, Section 6
Jiangling District
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434110
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

DONG DAOLAI
No. 1 Division, Section 6
Jiangling District
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434110
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

CHI FAMIN
Yongchuan Female Prison
Yongchuan City, Chongqing City 402164
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

XU FUMING
Jingzhou Prison
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434020
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA 
KIM KYUNG IL
#104-1004 Mailbox
Tiebei Prison
Changchun City, Jilin Province
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

PENG MING
No. 4 Prison Branch
Hubei Provincial Han Yang Prison
Cai Dian District, Wuhan City
Hubei Province
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

XIAO YANLI
No. 2 Division, Section 2
Wuhan Female Prison
Wuhan City, Hubei Province 430032
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

ALIMUJIANG YIMITI
Section 11,
Xinjiang No. 3 Prison
No. 1339, Dongzhan Road
Urumqi City 830013
Xinjiang, Uyghur Autonomous Region
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

HU YING
Jingzhou Prison
Jingzhou City, Hubei Province 434020
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

LI YING
No. 2 Division, Section 3
Wuhan Female Prison
Wuhan City, Hubei Province 430032
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

WANG ZHAOMIN
Team #2, Qishan Lao Gai Camp
Datong District
Huainan City, Anhui Province
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

AIQING ZHU
The Public Security Department
Xiang Xiang City, Hu Nan Province
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

PASTOR ISAIAS PRASCA
Iglesia Cristo Reg
AIEC
Calle 15 #15-76
Tierralta, Cordoba
COLOMBIA

PRIMERA IGLESIA BAUTISTA MARANATHA
Fomento 298 e/ Marti y Luz Caballero
Ciudad de Holguin
Holguin 80100
CUBA

PASTOR MARIO FELIX LLEONART BARROSO
Rivadeneira 66
Taguayabon
Valla Clara 54260
CUBA

RVDO. ROBERTO RODRÍGUEZ
Princesa No. 52
e/Laborde y Gene Cardenas
42110 Matanzas
CUBA

PASTOR JOSE MIROEL MATOS GUILARTE Y ODELKYS BREIJO
Calle 21 #23 entre 8 y 10
Reparto el Triangulo
Colombia, Victoria Las Tunas
CUBA

PASTOR TONY MILHET TOIRAC Y
GLORIA PAGÁN GONZALEZ
Eduardo Marmol #91 (oeste)
e/ Maceo y Honorato del Castillo
Ciego de Avila 2
CUBA

PASTOR YOGLY GONZALEZ PERÉZ
Calle Esperanza 214 Apt 12
e/ Florida Y Alanbique
Habana Vieja
CUBA

PASTOR FERNANDO KUTINO
Prison Centrale de Makala
CPRK
Kinshasa/Selembao
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

HAILE NAIZGI
Karsheli Prison
2nd Police Station
Zone 7 Northern East
Asmara, Zoba Maakel
ERITREA

KIDANE WELDOU
Karsheli Prison
2nd Police Station
Zone 7 Northern East
Asmara, Zoba Maakel
ERITREA

DR. KIFLU GEBREMESKEL
Karsheli Prison
2nd Police Station
Zone 7 Northern East
Asmara, Zoba Maakel
ERITREA

YOUCEF NADARKHANI
Lakan Prison
Rasht, Gilan
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

MEHDI “PETROS” FOROUTON
10KM after Abelabad
Pirbanu Prison
Shiraz, Farsi State
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

BEHNAM IRANI
Karaj  Prison
Albourz State
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

THONG CHAN
Ban Na Prison
Muang Xai, Udomxai
LAO PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

ASIA BIBI
District Jail
Sheikhupura, Punjab
PAKISTAN

IMRAN GHAFUR
Central Jail of Faisalabad
Faisalabad
PAKISTAN

AUGUSTINE ASHIQ ‘KINGRI’ MASIH
c/o All Pakistan Minorities Alliance
House 1/B
Street 95
1-84 Islamabad
PAKISTAN

ILMURAD NURLIEV
746222 Lebap vilayet
Seydi uchr. LB-K/12
TURKMENISTAN

TOHAR HAYDAROV
UYa 64/49
Otryad 13
Pos. Shaikh-Ali
G. Karshi, Kashkadarya Region
180020
UZBEKISTAN

Y WO NIE
Nam Ha Prison, Team 27
Ba Sao Village
Kim Bang District
Ha Nam Province
VIETNAM

PASTOR Y DU / PASTOR Y CO
Doi 7, Phan Trai K3
Trai giam so 5
Huyen Yen Ding
Ting Thang Hoa
VIETNAM