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Filtered by: Access to Justice and Legal Services

Afghan Convert ‘Could Face Death’ if Deported from Switzerland

January 18, 2018, Switzerland

ADF International filed an expert brief with the European Court of Human Rights in support of an Afghan citizen who faces deportation from Switzerland. A.A. (anonymized for security reasons) converted from Islam to Christianity and sought asylum, which the Swiss government denied. If returned to Afghanistan, he could face severe social and formal persecution, with punishments ranging from lengthy imprisonment to death.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Pharmacist’s Conscience Rights Appeal Dismissed

December 22, 2017, France

France's highest administrative court refused to hear the appeal of a pharmacist who was sanctioned for refusing to sell an IUD.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience

Spanish Nuns Fined for Restoring Church Organ

November 18, 2017, Spain

The Andalusian government fined a convent of Spanish nuns 170,000 euros for having a priceless church organ repaired without the state's permission. After public outcry, the fine was reduced to 1,1710 euros on December 19, 2017.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Court Rules Student can be Expelled for Quoting Bible on Facebook

October 27, 2017, United Kingdom

On October 27, Felix Ngole, a Christian student who was expelled from university after posting on Facebook his support of Biblical teaching on marriage and sexual ethics, lost his case in a judicial review of the university’s decision.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Prison Worker Loses Employment Tribunal Appeal over Sermon

August 4, 2017, United Kingdom

A Christian prison worker has lost his latest appeal in the courts over his discipline by HMP Littlehey. Rev Barry Trayorn who worked as a gardener, but volunteered in the chapel, fell into trouble after delivering a talk to prisoners about homosexuality and sin. Following a complaint, he was disciplined then later resigned. In 2016, an employment tribunal ruled that his employers acted within the law. A judge confirmed in August 2017 that ruling was fair, claiming his words could "legitimise mistreatment of homosexual prisoners." Trayhorn will take his case to the Court of Appeal.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Expression

Christian Refugees on Lesbos Threatened; Prevented from Seeking Asylum

July 22, 2017, Greece

Several clashes broke out around July 22, 2017 at Lesbos Island’s Moria Camp for refugees, with Greek authorities arresting 35 Muslim rioters who threw large rocks at police officers and set fire to tents both inside and outside the bounds of the camp. A disabled Christian was nearly burnt alive while sleeping in one of the shelters. "Christians are being prevented from holding church services, worshiping and praying by their Muslim neighbors. Moreover, reports of tents being burned down, violence, bullying, harassment and severe threats paint a very bleak picture of the quality of life for Christians caught up within the camp," according to the British Pakistani Christian Association.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Insult or Incitement

Swedish Pro-Life Midwives Fined

May 29, 2017, Sweden

Ellinor Grimmark and Linda Steen are two pro-life midwives who challenged their employment termination cases in court. Grimmark's case was taken to the Labor Court where she lost the case in April 2017. Due to this loss, she has been ordered pay all the court costs and received an invoice from the Jönköping County in the amount of 1 640 000 Swedish Kronor (€168 634). Linda Steen was denied an appeal in the Labor Court, but she will receive an invoice of 1.2 million Swedish Kronor (€123 391).

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience

Christian Prison Preacher to Appeal Tribunal Ruling

April 27, 2017, United Kingdom

A Christian prison worker who felt he had no option but to resign after being disciplined for quoting from the Bible during a prison chapel service, will challenge an Employment Tribunal's ruling that the prison was right to discipline him. In March 2016, the Employment Tribunal ruled that Barry Trayhorn spoke of God's forgiveness in an "insensitive" way which "failed to have regard for the special nature of the congregation in the prison".

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Expression

Zaragoza City Council Initiated Proceeding to Claim Public Ownership of Cathedral and Church

March 28, 2017, Spain

The municipal government's proceedings are an attempt to nullify the inmatriculación (entry into the property registry) of La Catedral de San Salvador de Zaragoza, known La Seo and Iglesia de La Magdalena by claiming the buildings are public property. The spokesman for the Archbishop of Zaragoza, José Antonio Calvo, replied that that the city cannot prevail because the Church has owned the buildings since the 12th century.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion

Anti-Christian Crimes Recorded as "Islamophobia"

March 18, 2017, United Kingdom

Freedom of Information inquiries made by the Network of Sikh Organisations revealed that the London Metropolitan Police recorded 1,227 incidents of Islamophobic hate crime in 2016, but in 57 of these incidents the victim was not contacted, in 86 the religion of the victim was unknown, and 85 of the reported cases were ‘blank’. 19 Hindus, 11 atheists, 43 Christians and four Sikhs were victims.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Norwegian Court Ruled Against Catholic Doctor

February 9, 2017, Norway

On February 9, 2017, a Norwegian court ruled against Katarzyna Jachimowicz, a Polish Catholic doctor who sued after she was fired for refusing to insert intrauterine devices (IUDs). Jachimowicz v. the Municipality of Sauherad was the first case in Norway in which a medical professional sued over conscience rights.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience

Gender-Abortion Whistleblower Ordered to Pay Costs

January 20, 2017, United Kingdom

Aisling Hubert, who began criminal proceedings against two doctors who were filmed offering 'gender-abortion', went to court to challenge £36,000 of the costs that were awarded against her after she tried to bring two 'gender-abortion' doctors to justice. The judge said he could not amend or reduce the costs. Instead a settlement was reached for the amount Aisling has to pay. She now has until 18 August to pay the agreed amount.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Iranian and Afghan Christian Converts Face Deportation from Germany

January 16, 2017, Germany

Germany’s Ministry for Immigration and Refugees (BAMF) rejected many applications for asylum from Iranian and Afghan converts from Islam to Christianity, following “kangaroo court”-style hearings as to whether the conversions are genuine, according to a Berlin pastor.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion

Spanish Court Acquits City Councilor of Infringing on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Convictions

December 16, 2016, Spain

Rita Maestre had been fined for removing her top inside a chapel during a protest against the "antidemocratic and chauvinistic" positions of the Catholic Church in 2011. On appeal, that decision was reversed as the court found that "inadequate clothing or certain inappropriate gestures" were "disrespectful but not desecration."

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Judge Dismisses Charges Against Artist Who Stole Consecrated Hosts

November 16, 2016, Spain

Abel Azcona stole more than 240 consecrated hosts from Masses celebrated in the cities of Madrid and Pamplona. He later took nude photos of himself arranging them on a floor to spell the word ‘pederasty.’ He was charged with an offense against laws respecting religious sentiments. However, on November 16, 2016, a judge dismissed the case against Azcona. In his ruling, the judge described the consecrated and stolen hosts as “small white round objects.” He claimed that there had been no desecration of the sacred hosts because according to the Spanish Royal Academy dictionary desecration is defined as “treating something sacred without due respect or using it for profane purposes.”

Access to Justice and Legal Services Desecration Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Christian Midwife Loses Case Against County Council

November 4, 2016, Sweden

Swedish midwife Linda Steen objected to assisting with abortions for reasons of conscience and as a consequence public hospitals denied her employment. She sued the Sörmland county council for violation of her freedom of conscience and religion. After losing the case, she was ordered to pay 1.2 million Swedish krona for the city's legal expenses.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Religiously-Motivated Attacks on 743 Christian Refugees in Germany

October 17, 2016, Germany

The NGOs AVC (Action on behalf of Persecuted Christians and the Needy), EMG (European Mission Society) as well as ZOCD (Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany) and Open Doors announced the results of their research on October 17th.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Hate Incident Insult or Incitement

Hamburg Court Acquits Afghan Charged with Attempted Homicide against Christian Convert

September 5, 2016, Germany

Christian leaders and the Christian Police Union criticized the acquittal, noting that all of the witnesses were Muslims - many of whom helped the accused flee after the incident.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Catholic Church Vandalized a Week After Board Denied CCTV Permission

August 16, 2016, Sweden

An unknown person threw a rock through the window of the Catholic church in Karlstad a week after the city's administrative board denied permission for the church to install CCTV cameras.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Vandalism (form of hate crime)

U.S. Baptist Minister Arrested, Convicted Under Missionary Activity Law

August 14, 2016, Russia

Donald Ossewaarde was arrested on August 14th as he conducted a bible study group in his home. He is first foreign missionary to be charged with violating Russia's law banning missionary activity outside officially registered church buildings.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Religion