Letter to Harper - Eritrea, Egypt, Laos, Turkmenistan, Vietnam
Dear Prime Minister Harper:
I am a Canadian citizen who is concerned about human rights abuses around the world. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, yet, sadly, this right is kept from many Christians around the world. Canada can use its international influence to call for the release of Christians who have been imprisoned for the practising of their faith. I am asking you to be an advocate for the following Christians who are imprisoned around the world by contacting their governments and utilizing diplomatic pressure to secure their release.
Haile Naizgi was the chairman of the board of the Full-Gospel Church of ERITREA He had also worked as a senior accountant for World Vision. He is married and has two children. He was imprisoned in Eritrea in May 23, 2004. Kidane Weldou was the senior pastor of a Full-Gospel Church and a former high school biology teacher. He was imprisoned in ERITREA on March 16, 2005 and his wife and children have been unable to visit him. Dr. Kiflu Gebremeskel was the pastor of South-West Full-Gospel Church. He was also formerly a dean of science and a lecturer of mathematics at Asmara University. He was imprisoned on May 23, 2004 in ERITREA.
Shaiboub Arsal was falsely accused of two murders and was given a 15-year hard labor term in June of 2000 in EGYPT.
Thong Chan was a house-church leader and formerly a district governor in LAOS. He faces 11 years in prison. His conviction is based on his preaching Christian faith and, alledgedly, speaking badly about the country. He is sick and unable to walk.
Ilmurad Nurliev was a Pentecostal pastor in TURKMENISTAN. He was arrested on August 27, 2010 and charged with extracting money from three people. His wife and members from his church strongly deny these allegations. He has been sentenced to 4 years in prison. In December of 2010, Nurliev was transfered to Seyi Labor Camp which is known for its use of psychotropic drugs on prisoners. He is a diabetic and does not have access to medical treatment. He has also been denied a Bible. He has now been released, as of February 18, 2012.
Y Wo Nie was a pastor in VIETNAM who was arrested on August 18, 2004, for leading a demonstration that called for religious freedom and the release of properties confiscated by the government. He has been given a 9-year sentence.
Each of these lives are suffering for their faith in countries where religious freedom is greatly restricted. Please press, on their behalf, through diplomatic means to secure their release. Thank you for all that you do.
Respectfully and sincerely,
Shawn and Ramona Stevens.
cc: M. P. John Baird