Saudi's Conversion Lands Him in Prison

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, DEC. 21, 2004 ( A Saudi father of four has been arrested and imprisoned for converting to Christianity.

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Emad Alaabadi was arrested Nov. 29, but the news was reported only a few days ago by the Washington, D.C.-based human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC).

Local sources confirmed Alaabadi’s arrest to AsiaNews, an agency of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions, stating that «he is not the only Saudi Christian in prison at present. … There are others.»

The presence of Christians in Saudi prisons had also been confirmed by Brian O’Connor, an Indian Protestant who was deported from Saudi Arabia after being tortured and held in prison for «evangelizing.»

ICC said at least three Christians were arrested along with Alaabadi. Fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam is the only expression of religion allowed in Saudi Arabia.

Alaabadi, 30, converted to Christianity two years ago. He was intercepted by the muttawah, the Saudi religious police, while driving his children home from school.

The police escorted the children home and then took Alaabadi to the local prison in Hofuf. Later he was transferred to Jeddah.

On Dec. 4, he managed to telephone his mother in Australia, who said that he sounded «very weak.»

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