Saudi Police Torture Indian Catholic for His Faith

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 2, 2004 ( A Catholic Indian citizen was arrested and tortured in Saudi Arabia because of his faith, according to L’Osservatore Romano.

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The semiofficial Vatican newspaper, quoting sources of the Fides missionary agency and the Indian bishops’ conference, said that Brian Savio O’Connor was imprisoned about six months ago by the Mutawa, the Saudi religious police.

Taken to the Ali Hira prison in Riyadh, the accused was threatened with death if he did not convert to Islam, his brothers, Raymond and James, said.

The O’Connor brothers confirmed that Brian «has been incarcerated for six months and tortured with the intention of obliging him to abjure his faith,» L’Osservatore Romano’s Italian edition reported today. Sources said the accused is now in the Olaya prison.

«Officially the Mutawa has accused O’Connor of using drugs and praying to Jesus Christ, accusations which imply he runs the risk of being punished with the death penalty,» the Vatican newspaper stated.

«The family says that the proofs of his use of drugs have been fabricated by the police, while it does not deny that Brian is a good Christian,» the newspaper added.

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