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Eighteen-year-old Eva Abdallah, who spent the past year in prison on blasphemy charges, has been released from prison after the High Court of Tanzania overturned her conviction. Eva was arrested in January 2012 when local Muslims in her home state of Bagamoyo accused her of urinating on a Quran, and in July she was sentenced to two years in prison. But on Jan. 9, 2013, the High Court acquitted her of the charges and ordered her release. Eva was attending a Bible school and living with a pastor’s family when she was arrested. Her parents disowned her when she became a believer as a young teen. Praise God for her release, and pray that she will find a safe place to live. Pray that those who accused her will come to know Jesus Christ.
Colombia—Rebels Kill Widow of Murdered Evangelist Source: World Watch Monitor
Four months ago, National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas demanded that Alicia Castilla leave her home in Arauca, in northeastern Colombia. On the evening of Jan. 7, during a visit from the family’s pastor, assassins entered her home and shot her in front of her three children and her father. She died immediately. The guerrillas had killed Alicia’s husband, a lay-minister, two years earlier. Pray for Christians in Colombia, who face daily threats from rebel groups opposed to the spread of Christianity.
Iran—Armenian Pastor Conditionally Released Source: Mohobat News
After spending 15 days in Iran’s Evin Prison, Rev. Vruir Avanessian was conditionally released after posting about $60,000 of his personal property as bail. The pastor was released due to serious health problems and the need for special medical care, but he was ordered to await a court summons. So far, authorities have given no reason for his arrest, and no charges have been filed. Vruir, an Armenian Christian pastor, and several other Christians were arrested by secret police from the Ministry of Information while gathered for a Christmas celebration. About 50 men and women were detained for several hours and ordered to provide their full name, address, cellphone number and other personal information, such as Facebook and e-mail account IDs and passwords. While in prison, Vruir was transported to the hospital for treatment of his diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure, and he returned to the hospital prior to his release. Pray for Vruir as he struggles to maintain his health while awaiting a court summons.
Pray for the VOM team in the Philippines, who are distributing 1,000 copies of Hearts of Fire in a local language. The books will be distributed to pastors, leaders and other Christians living in Muslim-dominated areas.