Six Libyan Christians who were arrested separately earlier this year are facing the possibility of the death penalty as apostates for having converted from Islam. They are also accused of proselytising others in the Muslim-majority country.
The six Libyans have been charged under article 207 of the penal code, which stipulates the death penalty for anyone promoting views that aim to “alter fundamental constitutional principles, or the fundamental structures of the social order”, or overthrow the state. Anyone found in possession of books, leaflets, drawings, slogans “or any other items” that support such a cause is punishable by life imprisonment.
Libya’s Internal Security Agency said in a statement that it had issued the arrests to “stop an organised gang action aiming to solicit and to make people leave Islam”.
One of the six Christians is a 22-year-old woman who released a video explaining her conversion to Christianity at the age of 15.
A seventh Muslim-background believer is thought to be still on death row after being sentenced to death for apostasy in September 2022 (see Prayer Focus Update, October 2022).
Libya’s interim constitution (2011) declares Islam the state religion and sharia (Islamic law) the principal source of legislation, but it also guarantees non-Muslims the freedom to practise their religion.
Intercede for our Libyan brothers and sisters as they suffer for their faith. Pray that the Lord will impress on them the eternal glory to which they are called, and will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish them as they look to His transforming grace (1 Peter 5:10). Ask for a Divine intervention that persuades the authorities that Christianity is not a threat to society. Pray that the death sentence will not be carried out in any of these cases.