Africa, Middle East and North Africa

Christian jailed for Facebook ‘blasphemy’ in Algeria released

Slimane Bouhafs, an Algerian Christian convert who was jailed for three years for “blasphemy” in 2016, was released from prison on 1 April 2018.

 In July 2016, Bouhafs posted on Facebook that, “Jesus overcomes the lies of Islam”, an expression of faith which led to his imprisonment for “offending the Prophet [Muhammad]” and “denigrating the creed and precepts of Islam”.

 Bouhafs’ three-year sentence was reduced in July 2017, after his lawyers appealed for a presidential pardon on health grounds.

 While in prison, the 51-year-old was attacked by fellow inmates, after defending his Christian beliefs following a prison sermon in which the imam incited hatred towards Christians. He was subsequently transferred twice to other jails in Algeria before his release.

 Bouhafs converted to Christianity from Islam in 1997.