CHRISTIAN PRISONER SOKA ARARO TO BE RELEASED

Wrongly Imprisoned Christian to be Released and
Acquitted of Charges in Ethiopia
By Rebecca Seiler, Communications Coordinator
2/3/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian
Concern) – Shortly after two Christian converts
refused to recant their faith, local Muslims planted
false evidence of the production and distribution of
illegal substances on the converts’ shared land.
Police were notified soon after by the same group of
Muslims and Soka Araro and Obsa Ogeto were
quickly arrested. On November 12, 2014, Araro and
Ogeto stood before the Oromiya Region Federal
Court of Ethiopia.  They were charged with the crime
of growing and distributing illegal substances, which
could result in a prison sentence of up to seven
years.
Six months after Soka Araro’s initial arrest in
August, International Christian Concern is pleased to
announce that he is expected to be finally released
and acquitted on February 14, 2015.
Following the arrest in August, ICC immediately
hired a lawyer to defend the men in court. Though
Nura Araro was also briefly detained, accusations
were dropped shortly after, when negotiations took
place between ICC’s local Ethiopia representative
and prison officials. Ogeto was placed on bail in
October and later released and acquitted of the
charges in January.

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Every year, Open Doors , a watchdog organization
against the persecution of Christians, releases a
ranking of the 50 countries with the worst levels of
persecution. In 2015, Ethiopia was ranked #22 on
the list.  Though there is a significant Christian
population in Ethiopia, Islamic extremism has been
on the rise in multiple regions in recent years,
causing a surge in the persecution of non-Muslims.
Christians who come Muslim-background face
increased persecution and extreme pressure to
recant their faith, as seen in the case of Araro and
Ogeto. The Ethiopian government has also limited
freedom of expression, making it gradually more
difficult for Christians in the Muslim-majority
regions to worship openly.
In December, ICC organized a calling campaign to
advocate for the freedom of these innocent men.
Calls were made to Ethiopian embassies across the
world, demanding the release of Araro and Ogeto.
Through countless phone calls and generous
support through the Hand of Hope – Legal Fund, ICC
was able to play a part in the release of these
wrongly imprisoned, innocent Christians.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Cameron
Thomas, said, “By abusing legal institutions, radical
Muslims have greatly neglected the rights of
Christians across Ethiopia in recent years. We have
seen case after case documenting the rights of
Christians being ignored solely on the basis of
religion. When essential freedoms such as these
are removed, as in the case of Araro and Ogeto, the
international Christian community must stand up on
their behalf. We have been overwhelmed by the
outpouring of support for these men and could not
be more thrilled for Soka Araro’s upcoming
release.”
(PERSECUTION.ORG)

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