by AT News Team
Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have announced a Day of Prayer and Fasting around the world this coming Sabbath (December 1) to protest the violation of the human rights of an Adventist pastor and a church member in the African republic of Togo. Adventist Today reported in early October on the detention of Pastor Antonio dos Anjos Monteiro, Sabbath School and Personal Ministries director of the Sahel Union Mission, which is headquartered in Tome, Togo. Bruno Amah, a church member and businessman, has also been arrested under similar charges.
The denomination is attempting to mobilize the 30 million Adventist adherents around the world to express solidarity with these two men and pressure the Togolese government for their release. “These are falsely accused, innocent church members,” said Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference, in statement released by the official Adventist News Network (ANN). “We are pleading with the Lord for his intervention so that they can be reunited with their families and continue their work.” Wilson visited the men in prison recently during a tip to several African nations.
Adventist representatives have met with the ambassador of Togo in the United States and high-ranking government officials in Togo. A social media campaign is collecting signatures for a petition and urging individuals worldwide to write to the government of Togo.
The two men were accused by a man who has admitted to serial killings. Local news media in Tome have portrayed the case as a criminal conspiracy to kill young women and sell their blood. Trafficking in children and child labor are identified as problems in Togo on the official U.S. Department of State web site. It also reports that although “the human rights situation in the country [has] improved; however, serious human rights problems continue, including … harsh prison conditions, arbitrary and secret arrests and detention [and] lengthy pretrial deterntion.”
The judicial system in Togo “blends African traditional law and the Napoleonic Code,” states the Encyclopedia of the Nations. “Trials are open and judicial procedures are generally respected. However, the judicial system suffers from the lack of personnel and remains overburdened.”
Many Adventists will skip meals on Saturday until the Sabbath ends at sundown, although it is recommended that everyone who participates is careful to remain fully hydrated and take necessary medications. Very young, aged or ill individuals should not participate in the fast, a physician told Adventist Today. “One alternative is to consume fruit and vegetable juices, but no solid food. The average adult will only be healthier if he or she does that for a day, and it is good to put one’s self in solidarity with the men in prison who will suffer much longer.”
Adventist Today checked with several pastors around North America and found some who plan to preach about human rights on Sabbath. “It is good to focus attention on an attempt to help these two men,” said one pastor. “But these are not the only people on the globe who are being prosecuted without good evidence. Many people are deprived of human rights and this is an opportunity to take a stand on that.”
If you wish to sign the petition, you can access it at this web address: https://www.change.org/petitions/seventh-day-adventist-church