A father of four who converted to Christianity from Islam has had his conviction for blasphemy upheld by the court of appeals in Algeria.
Hamid, who's 43, converted to Christianity in 2001, according to Middle East Concern (MEC).
In 2018 he shared a caricature of the Prophet of Islam on a social media account. On 20 January 2021 he was summoned by police for investigation, accused of insulting the Prophet of Islam.
He was tried for blasphemy and received the maximum punishment of five years in prison.
On Monday, the court of appeals confirmed the sentence. It is not yet known if Hamid will appeal further to the supreme court.
Several similar charges and punishments have been reported against others in the country, according to MEC. Pastor Rachid Seighir of a church in Oran, and Nouh Hamimi were convicted in absentia on 27 February of "proselytising." They were sentenced to two years in prison and fined. Their appeal will be heard on 18 April. Two Christians from a Muslim background from the Kabylie area were recently convicted of blasphemy, receiving sentences of six months and three years respectively.
Christians in Algeria are calling for prayer that all those sentenced to prison, and their families, will know the peace of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit during these times. They ask for prayers that Hamid can appeal the verdict, that his appeal and that of pastor Rachid and Nouh will be successful. Furthermore, that Christians will know divine encouragement in light of the campaign against them, for it to cease and for churches to be reopened and that those responsible for the persecution of Christians will know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus.