An international human rights agency has learned that two Indian Christians working in Saudi Arabia have been arrested in Batha, Riyadh, and sentenced to 45 days in prison.
According to a news release from International Christian Concern (ICC), on March 11, Vasantha Sekhar and Nese Yohan were arrested and beaten. They were accused of proselytizing.
ICC contacts in Saudi Arabia believe they were arrested to keep them from practicing Christianity privately in their home.
ICC said while in prison awaiting trial, their apartment was ransacked. They face uncertainty regarding their future. An employer has returned the passport of one of the Christians, making it clear that his job is no longer available, and he will be expelled. The other Christian awaits information regarding his legal status and job.
ICC said Saudi Arabia has a long history of quietly cracking down on Christians.
In 2004, 28 Indian workers were arrested in Messriam for practicing Christianity. The charges were dropped, but in 2010 they were brought up again. One was deported, and one has been arrested.
In another case, ICC said, 16 Indian workers were arrested in Feb. 2008, and then released after three days. In 2010, eight left the country voluntarily and three of the remaining eight were issued deportation orders and expelled.
“These two Christians have faced false charges and false evidence. The Saudi government continues to engage in an array of severe violations of human rights as part of its repression of freedom of religion,” said Logan Maurer, ICC advocacy director, speaking in a news release.
ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide
For more information go to www.persecution.org.