Greek Evangelist Faces Prison Time for Proselytizing

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A Christian evangelist in Greece has been sentenced to four months in prison and fined 840 euros for sharing the gospel.

After a trial, authorities in Crete convicted Damavolitis Emmanuel, a Pentecostal Christian, for violating a law against proselytizing.

The Greek Orthodox Church is country's official church and is protected by the nation's laws.

In 2006, Emmanuel shared his faith with another man and convinced him to embrace Pentecostalism.

Last week, the Court of Appeals of Rethymno, in Crete upheld Emmanuel's conviction.

Emmanuel's attorney said the ruling shows there is no freedom of religion or speech for Christians who do not belong to the state church.

"This is a very sad day for freedom of religion in Greece. The court's decision reinforces the belief that freedom of religion and freedom of speech do not exist in Greece for evangelical Christians," said Vassilios Tsirbas, an international human rights attorney.

The case may be heard by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

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