Amin Khaki, from the Church of Irani, was released on 3 January, after being arrested last March at a picnic and suffering harsh treatment in prison.
However, Pastor Farshid Fathi, unjustly imprisoned on false national security-related charges, was given an additional one-year sentence at a trial on 29 December – on another false charge.
There were no attacks on churches over Christmas – instead we heard encouraging news of Muslims and others joining forces to protect churches holding Christmas services in Borno State.
However, on New Year’s Day a suicide bomber attacked a church in Gombe State. He died and eight church members were injured.
Attacks on Egyptian Christians are becoming commonplace in Libya. Twenty Egyptian Christians have been kidnapped in Libya over the last few weeks (so far, 13 have been released), and a doctor, his wife and their daughter were murdered.
Central African Republic
For the first time in two years, some churches in the Central African Republic celebrated Christmas without incident. The country has been torn apart by a civil war which started with a coup in March 2013.
Christians in Punjab Province were able to celebrate Christmas peacefully this year – a real cause for thankfulness in a country where the situation for Christians is worse than we’ve ever seen it before.
The body of a priest was found in Mexico on Christmas Day – the third priest to be disappeared or killed in Guerrero State alone last year.