Slimane Bouhafs, an Algerian Christian was was jailed for "insulting Islam," is being moved to Jijel prison, which is located in a volatile region of the country. The transfer comes as a shock since his family asked him to be sent to Oued Ghir, a prison located in the region of Bejai.
His family is concerned over the switch – and for good reason.
The new facility he's located is in a region known for aggressive Muslim extremism. Since it's currently Ramadan, the Muslim Holy month, violence is likely to break out.
It's not the first time Bouhafs has faced cruel treatment. While at Constantine prison, his previous location, inmates assaulted him.
According to the Christian Post, his daughter said he "psychologically deteriorated" while held there.
Bouhafs has been jailed in Algeria since September of 2016 on a blasphemy charge.
He's currently serving the first year of his 5 year sentence. His charge came after he shared a facebook post about the "lie" of Islam being conquered by Christ. It was deemed as "insulting to the Prophet and Islam."
His supporters argued his case was "minor," and that his offense was not deserving of the 5-year sentence. Some speculate that authorities were intent on punishing him for his fait, and that the post was used as an excuse to prosecute him.
— Dova Intrnat Charity (@dova_intern_Cha) May 28, 2017
Various social media users, mostly French, have protested Bouhafs' imprisonment. Others call for prayer and support.
In 1997, Bouhafs converted from Islam to Christianity. He's native to the Kabylie region of Algeria, an area known for a growing Christian minority.
Algeria is a nation known to deal harshly with Christians. The country is steeped in Islamic Extremism, and persecution comes from courts, government officials, and civilians.
And many Christians, like Bouhafs, are subjected to persecution, even while in prison.
Believers should use this opportunity to lift up brothers and sisters in Christ who, are being persecuted and imprisoned for their faith. Their suffering may be great, but their witness for the gospel is even greater.