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Indian Christian deported from Saudi Arabia

A 36 year old Indian Christian was yesterday deported from the Saudi capital Riyadh after 7 months and 7 days in prison after his arrest on charges of selling alcohol.

Asianews reports that he was convicted on 20 October and sentenced to 300 lashes and 10 months in prison.

Mr O'Connor was formally charged on 15th September with possession and sale of alcohol, possession of pornographic videos, possession of Bibles and preaching Christianity. He denied the first two charges, but admitted importing the bibles and holding Bible studies in his home for expatriate Christians after the authorities stated in the press on 9th April 2003 that non-Muslims could practice their religion at home. The court ordered an investigation into the latter claim.

Mr O'Connor was arrested on 25 March by the Mutawa (religious police), who took him to one of their offices adjacent to a Mosque where he was beaten. They ordered him to sign a paper admitting to selling alcohol, and pressed him to convert to Islam. His home was searched and Christian videos, CDs and Bibles confiscated. The videos had been recorded from Christian satellite TV channels and were not pornographic as later alleged in court.

He was taken to Riyadh airport late on Monday this week for his flight to Mumbai.

Indian Christian unconditionally deported from Saudi Arabia ( 2/11/04)

Saudis deport convicted Christian (Catholic World News 2/11/04)

3 Nov 2004