Ryan Keating has been charged with illegally importing Christian material into North Cyprus. He faces travel restrictions while the case is in progress and the possibility of a large fine if convicted.
HRWF with Middle East Concern (13.04.2021) – On 31 March, Ryan presented himself at Iskele police station to be formally charged with illegal importation of New Testaments, Bibles and other Christian literature. He also faced charges related to operating a business without a licence – the customs department had permissions granted by the municipality revoked.
This follows a raid on his business premises (also the meeting place of a church fellowship) and home by police and customs officials on 27 January 2021. A large amount of Christian material was confiscated (20 Bibles in Farsi, 15 Bibles in Arabic, 86 New Testaments in Farsi, 92 New Testaments in Arabic, plus two boxes of the Gospel of John in Farsi and Arabic). The Bibles and New Testaments were for church use and the Gospels for distribution.
The police have demanded Ryan’s passport for the duration of the court case, which is expected to take two to three years. He will need special permission to be able to travel during that period.
The Christian materials were valued at between 48,000 – 58,000 Turkish Lira (TL). If Ryan is convicted, the fine is calculated at ten times their value – which could be as much as 580,000 TL.
Ryan was released after guarantors provided promissory notes for a total of 160,000 TL and he paid costs of 5,000 TL.
Currency conversion: 1000 TL = 103 EUR