Wrongful Imprisonment Of Seventh-day Adventist Pastor In Togo Reaches 500 Days

Millions of Adventist church members to pray for Pastor Antonio Monteiro and others held without trial during special “day of support”; #pray4togo500
By: Seventh-day Adventist Church
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SILVER SPRING, Md. - July 18, 2013 - PRLog -- July 18, 2013 -- Silver Spring, MD -- Tens of thousands of Seventh-day Adventist congregations around the world will hold a day of support on Saturday, July 27, for a pastor who is being held arbitrarily without a trial in the West African country of Togo. Church leaders are calling the support, “500 Days of Injustice”.

Pastor Antonio Monteiro, a native of Cape Verde, worked as a department director at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Sahel Union Mission in Lome, Togo, when he was arrested on March 15, 2012, in conjunction with a murder case. Despite a complete lack of any evidence associating him with the crime, Pastor Monteiro has now been wrongly imprisoned for 500 days without being granted a trial.

There have been five attempted appeals by his lawyer, the Adventist world church and several foreign diplomats for Monteiro’s release, and many broken promises by the Togo government officials to Adventist church leaders and lawyers to comply with those requests.

In addition to Pastor Monteiro, four others have been arrested in the case and also have yet to receive a trial – including Monteiro’s accuser – and a Muslim who voluntarily went to police testifying that Monteiro’s accuser was a liar.

Monteiro’s only accuser – presumably, the sole grounds on which the pastor was arrested – has been declared mentally unstable and a “pathological liar” by a court medical exam. He has since recanted his accusation and declared that police forced him under duress to offer names of people he knew.

“Pastor Monteiro is innocent, period,” said John Graz, director of the Adventist world church’s department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty. “The outrageous accusation against Monteiro is that he, as an Adventist pastor, conspired to have these women killed so that various body parts could be used in conjunction with a religious ceremony. It’s an absolutely unbelievable and bizarre charge”.

Local newspapers have called for the release of Monteiro and the others who also are currently imprisoned with no trial set, thus violating Togo’s constitution guaranteeing a right to a trial.

The Adventist News Network today released a four-part series of articles detailing the case. The series – which details the arrest, conversations with police, and prison conditions – is based on interviews with sources involved in the situation, a statement by Monteiro, emails, newspaper reports, police records and court documents. A spokesman for Togo’s Ministry of Justice declined to comment for the series.

To attend or speak with a participating Seventh-day Adventist congregation in your area, please contact Ansel Oliver, above, or a regional representative:

U.S., Canada, Bermuda, Pacific islands north of the Equator:

George Johnson George.Johnson@nad.adventist.org +240.338.2219

Northern Europe:

Miroslav Pujic MPujic@ted-adventist.org +44.1727.860.331,

or Victor Hulbert VictorHulbert@adventist.org.uk +44.1923.672251

Southern Europe:

Andreas Mazza Andreas.Mazza@euroafrica.org +41.31.359.15 31

Russia, Eastern Europe:

Ivan Ostrovsky iiostrovsky@ead-sda.ru

Mexico, Central America, Caribbean:

Leon Wellington lwellington@interamerica.org +305.403.4663,

or Libna Stevens stevensli@interamerica.org +954.249.6708

South America:

Felipe Lemos felipe.lemos@adventistas.org.br +55.61.8121.1723

West Africa:

Gilbert Weeh gweeh@yahoo.com +

East Africa:

Steven Bina stevenbinasr@gmail.com +254.733.333373

Southern Africa, Indian Ocean islands:

Paul Charles charlesp@sid.adventist.org +27.12.345.7000

Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific islands:

James Standish JamesStandish@adventistmedia.org.au +61.2 9489.0943

Northeast Asia:

S.J. Byun sjbyun@nsdadventist.org +82.10.3776.3605

Southeast Asia:

Jonathan Catolico jcatolico@ssd.org +63.46.414.4000

India, Nepal:

T. P. Kurian tpkurian@sud-adventist.org +91.4344.263.800

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a global Protestant Christian denomination of more than 17 million members. More than one-third of its members live in Africa, while another one-third live in Central America and South America. The denomination officially launched in 1863 in the United States.

The church’s mission is to show people the character of God’s love, to invite them to accept His gift of salvation and to worship their Creator in a community of fellow believers.

The Adventist Church is committed to the development of minds and characters through education and joyous living in celebration of health--the denomination promotes healthful living and operates the largest Protestant network of hospitals and schools worldwide.

Adventists also strive to defend religious freedom of belief. The denomination launched in 1893 what is now the International Religious Liberty Association (irla.org), a non-sectarian organization promoting freedom of conscience for all people everywhere. The church also provides disaster relief and community development projects worldwide through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (adra.org).
Phone:+1 301.680.6313
Tags:Togo, Seventh-day Adventist, Human Rights, Faure Gnassingbé, Injustice
Industry:Human rights, Religion
Location:Silver Spring - Maryland - United States
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