Muslim Officials Attempt to Charge Ethiopian Evangelist With Terrorism, Treason
International Christian Concern has learned that Ethiopian officials have arbitrarily detained and arrested a Christian evangelist under charges of terrorism and treason in response to his Christian faith and activities. Alemayehu Legese was initially arrested in late March in Dodola, 180 miles south of Addis Ababa, by local police after having admitted to owning literature that "discussed the history of Islam from a Christian perspective." Legese, a student at Dodola Mekane Yesus Bible School, had dropped the literature off at a copy shop. A Muslim employee subsequently contacted authorities to demand Legese face consequences for violating the widespread cultural belief that Christians, being inferior citizens, are morally insufficient to learn the history of Islam. Legese was known for his outwardly evangelistic nature, and it is believed that because of that, as well as the fact that he coordinated faith-based activities for youth at his local church, he was made a target for arrest and ultimately arbitrarily detained. In court, Legese's lawyer objected to the charges of both terrorism and treason, and as a result, the court ordered public prosecutors to modify their charges against Legese. The prosecution has yet to do so. Until the prosecution submits new charges against Legese, he will continue to sit in jail, awaiting charges that may take years to be submitted. "I think the evangelist is arrested to discourage other Christians from teaching [the gospel] in the area," said a Christian legal expert who asked to remain anonymous. "All the government officials in the area are Muslims and this has created a big problem [for the Christians]."