Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cuban Pastor Pérez to face trial next week

Pastor Omar Gude Pérez has been held in detention in Cuba since May 2008, facing false charges of "illicit economic activity and falsification of documents." The original charge of "human trafficking" placed against Pastor Pérez was dismissed in March due to lack of evidence. The State prosecutor has requested a seven-year prison sentence be given to the pastor, who is currently imprisoned in the city of Camaguey.

Prior to his arrest, Pérez was involved in the training and oversight of several pastors and church leaders across Cuba.  The ministry he is part of, the Apostolic Nations for Christ Movement, is active in evangelism and church planting.

According to local Christians, Pastor Pérez has been targeted by authorities because he is one of the main leaders of an unrecognized denomination which also has no association with international denominational networks. This makes him and other leaders and members of the denomination particularly vulnerable to harassment from government officials. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, church leaders have reported that their phones are tapped, leaders are watched and threatened, and many church members have been threatened with loss of employment if they do not leave these churches.

After a year in prison, Pastor Pérez is due to face trial next week.  Please pray that he will be found innocent of the charges against him. Pray, too, for his wife Kenia and their two children at this time.  We encourage you to send a letter or card of encouragement to Pastor Pérez’s family, letting them know that they are not forgotten and that you are praying for them. You can mail your letter or card to:

La Familia Gude Pérez
Avellande 278
entre Esteban y San Martín
Camaguey, CP 70100

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