News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World Watch Monitor
World News

Christian released from prison in Algeria after serving blasphemy sentence

by Cara Bentley

Slimane Bouhafs, 51, was arrested and imprisoned in July 2016 and was released on 1st April 2018 having served his sentence.

He was imprisoned for publishing material on Facebook which was deemed by the authorities to be insulting to Islam. Algeria's Constitution establishes Islam as the State religion and the law criminalises blasphemy (insulting the Prophet Muhammad or any messenger from God, or denigrating any of the teachings or precepts of Islam). 

On 7th August 2016, a month after his arrest, he was given the maximum sentence for blasphemy of five years' imprisonment and a fine of approximately $850. In an appeal verdict delivered on 6th September 2016 the sentence was reduced to three years and the fine was dropped. On 4th July the following year a partial presidential pardon led to a further reduction of his prison sentence by 16 months because of Slimane's critical health needs.

He had been in Constantine prison, in an area of Eastern Algeria known for its conservative Islamic values when he was attacked by fellow inmates after defending his Christian beliefs following a sermon by an Imam which incited hatred towards Christians. Following this attack, and also because of deteriorating health, his family requested a transferred to a prison in his home area. The application was initially turned down but he was subsequently moved to two different prisons.

Now that Slimane Bouhafs is released, Christian group Middle East concern say that Algerian Christians have asked for prayer: "thanking the Lord for Slimane's release and for protecting, sustaining and encouraging him during his time in prison" and also "that Slimane will know the Lord's healing, restoration and ongoing wisdom as he adapts back to regular routines."

Blasphemy and other laws limit the freedom of Christians to practice and share their faith and in recent months greater enforcement of these laws has resulted in several church closures and the arrest and harassment of other Christians.

Middle East Concern also say that many Christians may be in a similar situations and that we should pray:"for other Christians who have recently been charged or convicted under similar laws which hinder freedom of religion" and "that the Algerian authorities will end the systematic campaign against Christians"

They add that prayer would be appreciated: "that the regulations governing non-Muslim worship and blasphemy will be amended so that Christians will be able to worship freely" and "that those responsible for arrests and closure orders will know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus."

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

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
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

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

News by email