|Pastor Keshab Acharya|
Nepal Pastor Keshab Raj Acharya imprisoned for over three months for saying prayers can heal the novel coronavirus was released after paying a hefty bail this month.
Pastor Raj was taken into custody from his home in Pokhara, Gandaki Pradesh Province, after a video appeared on social media of him rebuking the coronavirus as he preached at his church.
The pastor was first arrested on March 23 on charges of spreading false information for saying prayers can heal COVID-19.
Though he was released on April 8, he was rearrested moments later on charges of “outraging religious feelings” and “proselytizing.”
After more than three months in prison, he was released on July 3 after paying bail equal to about $2,500, Morning Star News reports.
“It was very difficult for me,” Pastor Acharya said. “I would think of my little children and my wife, and I would cry out to the Lord in prayer. I would look up at Him in hope that if it is in His will that I should be put through this, He would get me out of this.”
Acharya told the outlet he believes government officials and police worked together against him. “They were laying a thorough plan to make sure I would stay in the jail for a longer period.”
The Nepal police website states that Kaski police officers arrested Acharya for misleading the public by posting false information on social media about the novel coronavirus. Police cited a YouTube video showing him calling the coronavirus an evil spirit and rebuking it in the name of Christ, Christian Post Reports.
Nepal is ranked No. 32 on Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. Christians make up just 3 percent of the predominantly Hindu country’s population.