On 30 June, the Federal Supreme Court in Addis Ababa postponed for the sixth time the hearing of imprisoned believers Tibebu Mekuria, Dawit Jemberu, and Belete Tilahun, who are falsely accused of burning down a Orthodox Church building.
Tibebu Mekuria and Dawit Jemberu (who are both in their 20s), and Belete Tilahun (in his 40s) were each sentenced up to nine years in prison in October 2014 – even though witnesses testified that the men were nowhere near the church when it burned down in July 2014.
Twice, the men have tried to appeal against the judge’s decision but have been overruled. Their final appeal, to the Federal Supreme Court in Addis Ababa, has been delayed multiple times (most recently in June 2016) causing much frustration. Meanwhile, in another lawsuit against the men, a judge ruled that they must also pay for damages to the church – more than 1.2 million Ethiopian birr (£42,000).
During their imprisonment, the men were reported as losing weight and Belete has been struggling emotionally following the recent death of his father. (Belete is also the only one of the men who is married – without him, his family has been struggling to make ends meet.)
Open Doors has launched an online letter-writing campaign for the men – which closes on 30 October 2016. You can encourage the men by sending them an uplifting message, letting them know that you’re praying for them and including a Bible verse.
Source: Open Doors
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imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.