The Christians being held on false charges were released on bail on Monday 11 May.
The police had asked for a further extension of seven days to conclude their investigations, but the judge told them that they had been given enough time to do so.
Local church leaders were able to put together the bail of 5000 Birr (about £150) for the believers and secured their release on Monday afternoon.
According to our local source who remains anonymous for security reasons, the believers are very grateful to all who prayed for their situation while they were in jail. “It was as if you were jailed with us,” the leader of the group of detained believers said. “Please tell those who prayed for us that we have overcome the bigger enemy now. Satan wanted to frighten us, but we came out stronger from jail than what we entered. We know that they cannot stop God. We are also happy to know that there are people around us to pray and encourage us.”
Posted: 11 May 2015
In Ethiopia seven Christians have been imprisoned after they were arrested during the baptism of 40 new believers.
Police arrested the three leaders and four church members on Saturday 25 April in Asela, about 170km south of the capital Addis Ababa. They are accused of holding illegal meetings in a secret location.
The church is denying the charges against the Christians and insists that they had all the necessary approvals for their gathering in place. “They have informed government officials about their ministry and their meetings both orally and in writing,” reported a local source, who remains anonymous for security reasons.
Police also confiscated documents providing details of church membership. The church leaders are concerned that this may lead to even greater pressure on the community of new believers who are already vulnerable.
Sources who have visited the men in prison say they are in good spirits despite the difficult circumstances they are facing. “The overall situation in the prison is very difficult. More than 168 inmates are stuffed into one small space. The Christians each have just enough space to lie on their sides at night. One of them has to sleep in the area they use as a toilet,” reported the source.
But the leader of the group of Christians told our source, “I will not complain about that. God is in control. We consider ourselves lucky to suffer for Christ in this way. We have not faced death, like many others have. We maintain our peace and will remain calm. We are at work,” he concluded, referring to their continued evangelism efforts inside the prison.
The Christians had a court hearing on Monday 4 May, but the judge granted the request of the police for an additional seven days to conclude their investigation. The next hearing is scheduled for 11 May.
The imprisoned believers are thankful for the prayers of many around the world for them, and have asked us to continue to intercede for them.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.