India Refuses to Let American Pastor to Leave the Country, His Lawyer Believes He Was Targeted for His Faith
Officials in India are not allowing a pastor from Tennessee to leave the country even though his arrest from three months ago has been resolved.
Pastor Bryan Nerren was arrested three months ago for allegedly not paying duty on the money he brought into the country.
According to the Christian Post, Cece Heil, senior counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice, said Nerren paid a fine for the charge, but he is still not being allowed out of India.
Nerren was scheduled for a hearing this week but it was postponed. Heil said she had hoped the court would decide during the hearing to return his passport and let him leave India.
Nerren, the pastor of International House of Prayer Ministries in Shelbyville, was arrested on a charge that he brought $40,000 with him when he came to India in October 2019.
The money was meant to pay for his two weeks in India and Nepal where he would attend conferences and meet with other pastors.
Heil said Nerren was questioned about the money and asked whether it would be used for “Christian purposes.” Nerren was allowed to board his flight to Bagdogra, where he was arrested.
“The fact that they told him he was free and cleared to go and then alerted Bagdogra to arrest him when he got there, the facts themselves indicate that it was a setup,” Heil said.
Heil said the case has bounced from judge to judge.
“[N]ow that customs have finished their case, the court should have no problem returning the passport and lifting the travel ban,” she said. “It should be finished. Unfortunately, we have thought that several times before, and have continuously been disappointed.
”You can’t ever say exactly why something happened,” Heil said. “But in my personal opinion ... the fact that Nerren is a pastor and was carrying funds that they specifically asked him if he was a Christian and if the funds will be used for Christian purposes. I believe that was really what set off making him a target.”
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.