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Christian worker summoned to court in Northern Cyprus on charge of illegally importing Bibles

by Chantalle Edmunds
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Ryan Keating/Middle East Concern

A Christian worker, from the U.S., is to appear in court on Monday in Northern Cyprus to face a charge of illegally importing Bibles and books related to Christianity and an additional charge of producing wine without a licence.

On 27 January police and customs officials raided Ryan Keating's home and business premises, also the meeting place of a church fellowship, confiscating Christian literature, including Bibles and New Testaments for personal and church use.

Ryan was charged with illegal importation of New Testaments, Bibles, and other Christian literature on 31 March. He also faced charges relating to wine production without a licence. Permission initially granted by the municipality was revoked by the customs department, as reported by Middle East Concern.

The charge sheets only list the items found in Ryan's home in Iskele. It appears the raid on the business premises, located in Famagusta, was outside the jurisdiction of the Iskele police.

Twenty books, Bibles and other Christian literature, are listed on the charge sheets. It's claimed they were illegally imported from the Republic of Cyprus and valued at $640. Ryan says that none of the books came from there and he has receipts to prove it. He said the total value is less than $100. 

The US Embassy in Cyprus is concerned about the harassment of Ryan and has been seeking to raise the issue with the Turkish Cypriot authorities. They have also appointed a consular assistant to attend Monday's hearing.

Ryan faces travel restrictions while the case is in progress and the possibility of a large fine if convicted.

Friends of Ryan have requested prayer that God will encourage Ryan and his family during this particularly stressful time and give them His peace. They also ask for Christians to pray the court hearing will result in the charges against Ryan being dropped.

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