December 19, 2011
A judge's decision this month to indefinitely postpone the appeal of a Christian sentenced under Algeria's defamation and anti-proselytizing laws shows how the judicial system often keeps Christians locked up without officially punishing or acquitting them, according to Compass Direct News. In Abdelkrim Siaghi's appeal of his five-year sentence for giving a Muslim a CD about Christianity, a judge has been unable to find any evidence against him and has postponed hearing dates several times. Experts on Algeria's treatment of Christians say Algerian courts customarily have preferred to defer deciding in favor of Christians so they wouldn't anger local Muslims. Judges have also been slow to pronounce final verdicts to keep from provoking international criticism over religious freedom.