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[Today’s Prayer] Nepalese pastor accused of religious activities sentenced to prison by the Supreme Court


A Nepalese pastor was recently sentenced to one year in prison for religious activities.

The American Christian Post (CP) reported, “After Nepal’s Supreme Court confirmed the lower court’s ruling against Pastor Keshav Raj Acharya (35), who leads Pokhara’s Bountiful Harvest Church, religious freedom in Nepal suffered a major setback.”

(omitted)


Pastor Keshav said in a statement, “It is painful to be locked up in prison for a longer period of time, but I believe that all things are possible through God and try to find comfort in God.” “I am grateful to those who have offered their prayers and support for me and my family,” he shared.


The lawsuit against Pastor Keshav was sparked in March 2020 when he was arrested for allegedly inviting a man to his home and praying for him. He was indicted on charges of ‘outraging religious sentiments and causing conversion,’ and the District Prosecutor’s Office submitted an indictment that included imprisonment and fines under Nepal’s criminal code, which criminalizes religious conversion and proselytizing.


In November 2021, Pastor Keshav was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of 20,000 Nepalese rupees (about 200,000 won) for the crime. His sentence was later reduced to one year by the Jumla High Court. The Supreme Court upheld the High Court's ruling despite his appeal, but left Keshav free to convert his prison sentence to a fine as his only remedy.


“The Supreme Court’s decision was a shocking violation of basic human rights and a missed opportunity to set a positive precedent for religious freedom,” said Tehmina Arora of ADF International. “Especially because there were no witnesses to prove his charges of conversion.”


Pastor Keshav's wife, Madam Junu Acharya, emphasized his innocence, saying, “Her husband never forced anyone to change their religion.” “The government’s actions are aimed at preventing Nepal’s Christian community from spreading their faith,” she claimed.


Pastor Keshav's ordeal began with a YouTube video that provided spiritual guidance on COVID-19 in 2020. Due to misinformation about his comments, he was arrested and prosecuted several times, and was found guilty despite a lack of substantive evidence and testimony to support his charges.


A 2020 report on international religious freedom from the International Religious Freedom Roundtable and the U.S. State Department called attention to Pastor Keshav's case, saying "Pastor Keshav's arrest was arbitrary and discriminatory."


Joseph Jansen, president of the human rights group Voice for Justice, criticized Nepal's abuse of the anti-conversion law, saying, “Pastor Keshav was simply exercising his right to religious freedom without coercion.”


Nepal's Christian community has been increasingly exposed to persecution since 2018, and the law prohibiting conversion has been criticized as violating the basic freedom of religion or belief.



He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (Romans 2:6-8)

We hear the sad and unfortunate news that a pastor was sentenced to one year in prison for preaching the gospel in Nepal.


May the Lord repay the foolishness of the Nepali government, that is persecuting them just for inviting people to their homes and praying, and protect Pastor Keshav and other church members of the Lord who are being persecuted in Nepal.


Would you help them become a Nepali church that perseveres and preaches the gospel and does not stop doing good, no matter how difficult the situation is, and help them see the day when the Lord of glory and honor will reward them with eternal life.


We believe that as persecution increases, the the church of Jesus Christ will stand stronger on the cornerstone of faith. May the Holy Spirit sustain the faith of the remnants of the Nepali church and fill them with disciples who proclaim to live for the Lord with all of their lives.


Therefore, may the Nepali people shine the glory of God from the highest place on to all the nations!


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