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Turan Topal and Hakan Tastan
Photo from Compass Direct
After four years of legal battle in a Turkish court, a judge acquitted two Christians of insulting Turkey and its people by spreading Christianity, but not without slapping them with a hefty fine.

Four years ago, officers produced false witnesses to accuse Turan Topal, 50, and Hakan Tastan, 41, of spreading their faith and allegedly "insulting Turkishness, the military and Islam" (for more information, click here). On October 14, Judge Hayrettin Sevim acquitted the defendants of the charges that they had insulted the Turkish state and its people by spreading Christianity. Judge Sevim cited lack of evidence. However, he found them guilty of collecting information on citizens without permission.

Turan and Hakan were sentenced to seven months of imprisonment, but the court ruled that they could instead each pay a 4,500 lira (approximately $3,200 CAD) fine, said their lawyer, Haydar Polat. The charge was based on the fact that individuals interested in Christianity voluntarily provided their contact information to a research centre, where the two men had worked as volunteers. Their lawyer said Turan and Hakan will appeal the unjust conviction.

Praise God for this answer to prayer! Pray the Lord will provide for Turan and Hakan and give them the grace and strength to overcome this ordeal. Pray for favour from those in authority regarding the appeal. Ask the Lord to use the testimony of these two men to strengthen the faith of other believers and draw many more to Christ.

For more information on the challenges facing Christians in Turkey, visit the Turkey Country Report.