Saudi Arabia Detains, Deports 35 Ethiopian Christians for Praying

It’s astonishing this story has not received greater coverage in the media. The Jerusalem Post reports that Saudi Arabia has deported 35 Ethiopian Christians, after detaining them in allegedly brutal conditions for seven months, for conducting a private prayer meeting last Christmas. The Ethiopians, who had been working in Jeddah, were arrested in a raid on December 15 and, according to human rights organizations, subjected to beatings, sexual assaults, and attempts to force them to convert to Islam. The Saudi government never formally charged them with a crime, though it did suggest at one point it was holding the detainees on the charge of illicit mingling with the opposite sex. In February, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom had called on Saudi Arabia to release the Ethiopians.

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