Over 87,000 People Sign Petition Seeking Release of Tennessee Pastor Being Held in India Because of His Christian Faith

Pastor Bryan Nerren leads the International House of Prayer Ministries in Shelbyville, Tenn. | Photo: Facebook/ International House of Prayer Ministries

Over 87,000 people have signed a petition calling on authorities in India to release a beloved Tennessee pastor who was arrested as a result of his Christian faith, according to the American Center for Law and Justice.

Pastor Bryan Nerren, who leads the International House of Prayer Ministries in Shelbyville, also operates a nonprofit organization called Asian Children’s Education Fellowship.

The nonprofit has been training Sunday School teachers in India and Nepal for 17 years, the ACLJ reports, and during a trip to attend conferences in India and Nepal last month, Nerren was targeted and arrested as he stepped off a flight in Bagdogra, India.

Before his arrest in Bagdogra, the ACLJ says a security agent in New Delhi questioned Nerren about funds he was carrying while traveling with two other pastors from Tennessee. The pastor explained that the funds were to cover two conferences and support a two-week trip for 13 ministers. After about an hour of questioning he was cleared to fly, but when he arrived in Bagdogra he was arrested for violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act because he didn’t complete a document to account for the funds. The ACLJ says officials in New Delhi did not provide Nerren with the necessary forms.

However, the violation led to the pastor’s arrest and he was taken to Siliguri in India, where he was jailed for six days, denied visitation and hospitalized.

“I was held in the Siliguri jail for six days until I was allowed to pay bail. I am currently out on bail and staying with our Nepali partners. I am praising God for the ability to be out of the jail, and the ability to communicate with my family, which I was not able to do for six days,” Nerren said in a statement posted on his church’s Facebook page on Oct. 13.

The judge presiding over Nerren’s case has ordered a travel ban and retained his passport, the ACLJ reports. A hearing that was set for Oct. 22 never took place and the case has been pushed back until Dec. 12 with no guarantee that it will happen.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair