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Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 25, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 25, 2010

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Turkish Court Pushes to Close Malatya Murder Case
  • Haitian Judge Expected to Release Last Two Americans
  • Judge Issues Arrest Warrant for Ex-Lesbian Va. Mother
  • Germany's Top Catholic Bishop Apologizes for Abuse

Turkish Court Pushes to Close Malatya Murder Case

Compass Direct News reports that judges have rejected the plaintiff appeals to investigate the suspected masterminds behind the stabbing deaths of three Christians in Malatya, Turkey. At the 24th hearing regarding the 2007 murders of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske, the prosecution demanded three life sentences without chance for parole for each defendant. In the last few weeks the Istanbul prosecutors sent a police report to Malatya's Third Criminal Court linking the murders to a larger "deep state" operation led by a cabal of retired generals, politicians and other key figures called Ergenekon. "They requested the highest possible penalty, however, we are defeated in this case when we consider that these five guys are part of a bigger plan," said plaintiff lawyer Murat Dincer in a press briefing after the hearing. He says they are ready to take the case to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Haitian Judge Expected to Release Last Two Americans

CNN reports that the last two American missionaries arrested for alleged human trafficking may soon be released by a Haitian judge. Judge Bernard Saint-Vil, who released eight of the 10 arrested missionaries last week, said he will make a decision regarding Laura Silsby and Charisa Coulter within days. The women's attorney, Avion Fleurent, says he is optimistic. "They will be free," he said. "I thank the world for believing in American innocence." Silsby, who led the group on a self-proclaimed mission to save Haitian orphans, was arrested with 33 children after being turned back from the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic for lack of paperwork. Silsby insisted all the children were orphaned, but at least 20 had a living parent who wanted his or her child to have an education like the group offered. "We are thanking God for the judge's efforts to seek out truth, which will confirm our innocence on all charges," Silsby said.

Judge Issues Arrest Warrant for Ex-Lesbian Va. Mother

The Christian Post reports that a Vermont judge has issued an arrest warrant for an ex-lesbian, Christian woman in Virginia. Lisa Miller disappeared a month ago after Judge William Cohen ordered her to give up custody of her daughter, Isabella, to her former partner, Janet Jenkins. In the past, Miller repeatedly refused to honor Jenkins' court-appointed visits. Last year she told Newsweek, "I do not feel safe leaving my daughter with her, and I believe I have a God-given and constitutional right to raise my child as I see fit," citing Isabella's allegedly "violent reactions" after spending time with Jenkins. Miller and Jenkins were united in a civil union in Vermont when Miller underwent artificial insemination to conceive Isabella.

Germany's Top Catholic Bishop Apologizes for Abuse

Religion News Service reports that the head of Germany's Catholic Bishops Conference apologized Monday for sexual abuse of children at church-run schools that happened decades ago. The incidents only recently caught public attention. "I am deeply shaken by the abuse cases that have come to light. We reacted as soon as they were made public,' said Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, chairman of the conference, speaking in Freiburg. Zollitsch promised a review of 2002 standards designed to prevent such abuse and promised full cooperation with authorities investigating the crimes, which only came to light when a former Jesuit priest now living in Chile wrote a letter of apology to former students. Most of the reports of sexual and physical abuse from across Germany cannot be prosecuted, as they are more than 30 years old. At least 124 individual cases of abuse have surfaced so far.