An expatriate Christian living in North Cyprus has been charged with illegally importing Christian materials into North Cyprus.
He faces travel restrictions while the case is in progress and the possibility of a large fine if convicted.
Ryan Keating formerly resided in Turkey but was targeted for his Christian faith and activity and later moved to North Cyprus.
Sources: Middle East Concern, International Christian Concern
On 31 March, Ryan presented himself at Iskele police station to be formally charged with illegal importation of New Testaments, Bibles and other Christian literature.
He also faced charges related to operating a business without a licence – the customs department had permissions granted by the municipality revoked.
This follows a raid on his business premises (also the meeting place of a church fellowship) and home by police and customs officials on 27 January. A large amount of Christian material was confiscated (20 Bibles in Farsi, 15 Bibles in Arabic, 86 New Testaments in Farsi, 92 New Testaments in Arabic, plus two boxes of the Gospel of John in Farsi and Arabic). The Bibles and New Testaments were for church use and the Gospels for distribution.
The police have demanded Ryan’s passport for the duration of the court case, which is expected to take two to three years. He will need special permission to be able to travel during that period.
The Christian materials were valued at up to $9,300. If Ryan is convicted, the fine is calculated at ten times their value.
Let us pray.
- Please pray that God will give Ryan and his family peace at this particularly stressful and uncertain time.
- Pray that Ryan’s lawyer will have the wisdom to be able to defend Ryan well in a case that raises questions for the churches in North Cyprus about the ease of obtaining Christian materials printed abroad.
- Despite the opposition, pray that God will encourage the church in North Cyprus and cause it to grow and flourish in His grace.