News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Flickr / Alberto
World News

Christian girls imprisoned for sharing faith released

International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that Martha Solomon Kebede, 18, Miheret Abera Mulat, 17, Gifti Dabesa Fekyisa, 17, and Eden Serawit Mekuria, 15, were freed on 15 December in Babile after spending 3 months in and out of jail.

The group were arrested in September after having a religious discussion with a Muslim friend. They had given their friend a book called 'Let's speak the truth in love: Answers to questions by Ahmed Deedat', which aims to answer the questions about Christianity posed by the late Deedat, a South African Islamic scholar.


99.4 million

Ethnicity (%)
Oromo (34.4), Amara (27), Somali (6.2), Tigray (6.1), Other (26.3)

Religion (%)
Ethiopian Orthodox (43.5), Muslim (33.9), Protestant (18.5), traditional (2.7), Catholic (0.7), other (0.7)

The book angered local Muslim elders and on 19 September a group of Muslims went to attack the Protestant Meserete Kristos Church the girls attend.

Prosecutors demanded 15 years in jail for the girls but a High Court Judge in Harar overruled the request and granted a release date of 1 October 2016. On the day of their release in October, local police rearrested and imprisoned the group.

On 15 November, World Watch Monitor reported that the girls were transferred to a prison in the town of Gelemiso to serve their sentence for inciting religious violence. Despite the fact the girls are minors, they were placed with adults serving sentences for serious crimes.

Eden, the youngest of the group, said she was beaten on her first night in prison.

A federal government official, who wished to remain anonymous, told ICC: "It is against the law for minors to be put in prison with adults."
Sara Solomon, ICC's Regional Manager, said: "Local authorities ignored the Ethiopian constitution, Ethiopian law, and the decisions of at least two higher courts to imprison these Christian girls unjustly.

"The federal government must do more to ensure that the constitution is upheld at the local level and tackle extremism.

"These four girls' lives have already been disrupted and are now in imminent danger simply for sharing their faith. We hope that the girls and their families will be able to find safety and that similar incidents will be prevented in the future."

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email