• NORTH AFRICA \ Aug 27, 2002
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    Libyan Students On Trial For Converting to Christianity
Libyan Students On Trial For Converting to Christianity ( CHARISMA) -- Fourteen students from Nasser University in the nation's capital, Tripoli, are on trial for converting to Christianity, according to a prayer appeal by the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM). The names of the defendants -- 12 women and two men -- are not known, nor are details of how they came to Christ.

An eyewitness told of seeing the accused being transferred from one prison to another, when they were blindfolded and bound together, said VOM. In a report by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, a Christian worker familiar with the area commented: "The students are presumably in this for the long haul...If [they] were released from prison, presumably they would be killed by their families for disgracing [them]."

VOM said that other students arrested at the same time for converting gained their freedom by reciting the Muslim creed, indicating they had turned back to Islam. VOM urged prayer for protection for the students, courage for their lawyer, and "protection, strength and encouragement for other secret believers in Libya."

One of the most restrictive countries in the world, Libya forbids evangelism of nationals. Churches are allowed among the nation's large expatriate workforce, but their activities are closely monitored.