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Friday, 16 April 2010

VOM persecution alerts

A well-known Chinese Christian activist from Shanghai has been abducted by government officials for the second time in recent weeks.
Shen Peilan, a seasoned campaigner against government corruption, has not been seen since she was seized on March 24, the same day officials from the Bureau of Letters and Petitions raided her home twice. On their first attempt, they were deterred by police who were summoned by Shen's family. However, officials succeeded in abducting her in a later raid after the police had gone.
Shen was still recovering from an earlier abduction on March 7, when she was held without a warrant and interrogated by officers from the same bureau for nine days. When church friends reported her missing, lawyers and activists managed to track her down at a hotel in Songjiang and police intervened to free her. Shen had been travelling to Beijing to protest against her house being demolished by local officials earlier this year. Chinese local government officials do not have the power to make arrests unless sanctioned by a higher authority. (Sources: ChinaAid, Release International).
A 19-year-old Pakistani Christian woman, Sonia Mohan, was reportedly abducted on April 1 by a Muslim man and his friends in Nishtar Colony, Lahore.
Sonia's family fears the Muslim man, Ali Raza, will force her to convert to Islam and marry him. Sonia's brother, Johnson Parvaiz, stated, "Ali Raza came to our home and told Sonia that I had asked for her, and she went out of the house with him. They had parked a vehicle outside and left, and afterwards we never heard from her." After two days, Johnson was able to reach his sister on her cell phone but she told him not to call her, that she was very happy and that they should not try to find her. "It was obvious from her voice that she had been forced to say that," Johnson said. Police have delayed registering a case on behalf of Sonia's family because, in what appears to be an attempt to delay police action, Ali's family has filed a complaint that he was abducted by the same accomplices who allegedly helped him kidnap Sonia. (Source: Compass Direct)
On March 16, The People's High Court of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region rejected an appeal from Alimujiang Yimiti (37), a Uyghur house church leader.
Alimujiang was sentenced in October 2009 to 15 years' imprisonment for "providing state secrets to overseas organizations" (click here for more information).
One of his lawyers, Li Dunyong, believes Alimujiang's Muslim background is a large issue in the case. Another of his lawyers, Li Baiguang, reported, "We are fairly sure that there are a lot of factors which are totally outside the law that have influenced the investigation of this case. This is very clear from the procedures that were followed within the courts and from the final decision." (Source: Radio Free Asia) Here is an interview with his wife among others about his situation.
A court hearing for Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh -- Iranian Christians who were arrested by security forces in March 2009 -- was held on April 13.
In November 2009, the two were conditionally released from the notorious Evin Prison (click here for more information). Although they have been receiving medical treatment for the past five months, they remain weak and suffer from various illnesses. Yet, despite their frailties, they were determined to be faithful to the Lord and speak the truth in court whatever the consequence or personal cost. At last report, the outcome of their hearing was unknown. (Source: Elam Ministries).

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