Couple found guilt of ‘aiding’ Indonesian church bombings
A MARRIED couple have been found guilty of “aiding criminal acts of terrorism” and “being involved in a criminal conspiracy” in connection with the suicide bomb attacks carried out by the same family on three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, last May, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has reported. At least 14 people were killed and more than 30 were injured in the attacks (News, 18 May 2018). A West Jakarta court sentenced Agus Satrio Widodo to eight years in prison, and his wife, Damayanti, to three years and four months in prison, earlier this month. A third defendant was also sentenced. The East Asia team leader for CSW, Benedict Rogers, welcomed the decision. “While the bombers themselves died in the explosions they perpetrated, it is important that anyone involved in the planning and preparation of the attacks is brought to justice,” he said.
Members of house church in China missing and detained
TWO members of the Early Rain Covenant Church, a house church in Chengduin, China, are missing, and 11 others, including its leader, Pastor Wang Yi and his wife, Jiang Rong, remain in criminal detention, three months after a government crackdown, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has reported. More than 100 church members were arrested last December. Pan Fei went missing on 4 March: his whereabouts are unknown. Gou Zhongcan went missing on 15 March: his mobile phone and computer have been removed from his home, CSW reported this week. State-sanctioned churches are being forced to fly the national flag, remove religious symbols, and sing pro-Communist songs, it says, and churches and other places of worship have been demolished. CSW’s chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, described the crackdown as a “grave violation of the right to freedom of religion or belief”.