Ethiopian Christian Teenager Arrested For Evangelism Is Back In Jail

Harar, where the teenagers are being tried, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its significance in Islam.World Watch Monitor

An Ethiopian teenager detained with three others for handing out a book about Christianity has been re-arrested hours after she was released.

According to World Watch Monitor, the 18-year-old woman, known as Deborah, was released with her co-accused on bail after paying 3,000 Birr (around $135) to the court in Harar. It is not known why she was arrested again.

World Watch Monitor's sources said the prosecutor's office is seeking advice on how to proceed with the case.

The four teenagers – Eden, 15, Gifti and Mihiret, both 14, and Deborah, 18 – were distributing a Christian book in Amharic, Ethiopia's main language, by a local author, entitled Let's speak the truth in love: Answers to questions by Ahmed Deedat.

The book sets out to answer questions about the Christian faith posed by the late South African Islamic scholar and former head of the Islamic Propagation Centre International. Christians in Babile, around 550 km east of the capital Addis Ababa, decided to distribute it following cross-cultural evangelism training.

However, local Muslims said the book was an insult to Islam. Mobs attacked churches and church leaders were threatened.

According to World Watch Monitor, one of the girls, Eden, suffered a beating on her first night in prison.

Evangelical Christians frequently face discrimination and harrassment in Ethiopia, though the country says it guarantees freedom of religion.