From ANS, with thanks to Nicolei:
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (ANS) — A major Catholic news service joined an international campaign Friday, September 17, to free a “tortured” Christian guest worker from India who was reportedly produced before an Islamic court this week on charges of “spreading Christianity.”
Brian O’Connor “was beaten and tortured and threatened with death unless he abjured his Christian faith,” said AsiaNews, quoting several human rights groups, including Middle East Concern.
“Along with other associations, AsiaNews has embarked on an international campaign for Mr. O”Connor’s release,” the news organization said.
Another Christian news agency, Compass Direct, said it had learned that O’Connor’s hearing in front of an Islamic court in Riyadh Wednesday, September 15, lasted 90 minutes.
His court hearing came as United States Secretary of State Colin Powell named Saudi Arabia as one of eight “countries of particular concern” for its “gross infringements of religious freedom.”
CHARGES AGAINST HIM
“O”Connor was informed for the first time of the legal charges against him, which include possession of alcohol, possession of pornographic movies and preaching Christianity.
It was not clear whether any evidence was produced to support the possession charges,” said Compass, which has close contacts with persecuted Christians.
He has reportedly acknowledged that he led Bible studies for expatriate Christians in his home, which is illegal under Saudi Arabia’s controversial policies.