US Pastor Still Detained in India, Awaiting December Trial

News & Reporting | 11/11/2019 | Staff
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Each year, when Tennessee pastor Bryan Nerren delivered the closing message at a conference for Nepali Christian leaders in South Asia, he called them to persist in ministry despite the associated risk in a Hindu-dominated region sometimes hostile to their faith.

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Nerren - Sermon - Time - Years - Mission

Now, Nerren, 58, is living out his sermon more than at any time in his 17 years of mission trips to South Asia, trapped in India for more than a month and prohibited from returning home following a six-day imprisonment. While Indian officials charge him with failing to fill out proper paperwork to declare the cash he was carrying, Nerren’s attorneys call the charges unjust and the detention an example of religious persecution.

Nerren, pastor of the nondenominational International House of Prayer in Shelbyville, Tennessee, did nothing wrong and “is essentially being held hostage in India for his Christian faith,” according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the evangelical legal organization representing him. “He deserves to come home.”

October - State - West - Bengal - Nerren

Released on bail October 11 in the Indian state of West Bengal, Nerren had his passport seized by a judge while he awaits a December 12 court date. Despite backchannel work by the Trump administration and three US senators, Nerren’s family doesn’t know when he will return home.

Nerren’s legal trouble began October 5. He and two other American ministers cleared Indian customs upon arriving in New Delhi and proceeded through security to board their domestic flight to the northeast Indian city of Bagdogra to lead a conference there, the ACLJ reported. After Nerren answered questions for an hour in New Delhi about the cash he was carrying—including questions about whether the funds would be used for Christian causes—customs officials authorized him to board his flight.

Arrival - Bagdogra

But upon arrival in Bagdogra, he was arrested for...
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