The prayers below refer to various cases publicised by Amnesty International during its world campaign against torture: these are true and verified facts. The men, women, children and elderly people (whose names have sometimes been changed for security reasons) featured in these accounts are victims of different forms of torture.
For whom are we praying? For those people, living or dead, whose names we have been given. We can also remember other people in those countries who find themselves in a similar situation.
Last, but not least, we ask God to change our attitude towards torture and the people involved, we ask him to change our hearts and to help us become fully aware of our responsibilities. For this reason, a prayer has been included for ourselves, individuals and communities inspired by events to act here and now.
Our prayer to God for these intentions and our action in the world are both expressions of the same passion/compassion.
You can find more details of these cases in the relevant Amnesty International leaflets. These prayers are only suggestions: we would encourage you to compose your own prayers on these or other cases which you may know about.
IRAN: Akbar Mohammadi
Akbar was arrested following a peaceful demonstration against the closure of a daily newspaper in Iran, where freedom of the press is regularly flouted. The demonstration descended into violence provoked by hostile militant groups. Initially Akbar was held in incommunicado detention for 8 months, before being transferred to another prison. He was reportedly handcuffed, suspended by his arms and beaten to the point of exhaustion. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.
15 years of his life, Lord! 15 years of humiliation!
15 years during which Akbar will know no life, no liberty, no love!
And yet, you want this brother to enjoy life, liberty, love!
And you call us to fight, like Jesus, with Jesus, for more
justice, liberty and respect for human dignity.
Give us your strength, Lord. Help us to fight for our brothers and sisters unjustly imprisoned and tortured.
Lord, hear our prayer.
CHINA: Abdulhelil Abdumijit
Abdulhelil was arrested and severely tortured in the Xinjiang autonomous region, for taking part in a peaceful protest, calling for an end to discrimination against the Uighur ethnic minority in China. The forms of torture most commonly used in this region include handcuffs, shackles or ropes to tie prisoners in positions causing great suffering, exposure to extreme heat or cold, and injection with dangerous chemicals.
Lord, we need your help to pursue the struggle to eradicate such suffering in China and all over the world.
Give us the strength to speak up for those tortured into silence.
Teach us how to pray for those who persecute their fellow humans.
Your resurrection gives us the confidence to trust that life and freedom will prevail, and the strength to react and act.
Lord, hear our prayer!
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Jeanine Bouchez Mwayuma
Jeanine, 26, was arrested and beaten by government troops who were supposed to be protecting her. While she was detained, she was repeatedly raped, morning and evening, for days and nights, by successive groups of soldiers.
Each time she was subjected to the abuse and hatred of these men, her brothers, her whole being was treated with contempt, humiliated, tortured. Although she has now been released, she continues to be harassed by members of the security forces.
And all this, because she was unjustly suspected of having contacts with rebel fighters in Congo.
How long, Lord, will men continue to behave in such a barbaric way?
How long will we just live our peaceful lives at home and say nothing in the face of such actions?
You showed us the way when you chose to speak out, loud and clear, and by raising you from the dead, God opened to us the path of hope.
May we follow your example and shout aloud, stand up and use everything in our power to stop this. Lord, hear our prayer.
Pursued, arrested and beaten so severely that other boys in the prison thought he would be killed, Jose, a 15-year-old Brazilian, is scarred for life, both physically and mentally, to such an extent that he is still today receiving psychiatric treatment. Lord, our Father, hear Jose’s cries, be attentive to our pleas for him and his brothers in Brazil.
You heard the cries of Jesus your Son, and you raised him from the dead; hear our cries, as we bear witness to him.
We praise you, Lord, for the mother of Jose, who despite being threatened, was brave enough to denounce the maltreatment of her son openly and even appear on television.
We are at no such risk of reprisal: give us the strength too, Lord, to speak publicly against the cruelty and torture inflicted on our brothers and sisters in Brazil and to demand justice for them.
KENYA: Sophia Dolar, Pauline Wanjiru and Ester Wairimu
In Kenya, Sophia, Pauline and Ester were arrested, beaten, insulted, humiliated, stripped naked in full view of jeering prison guards, forced to eat anything under threat of renewed beatings, and held in a cell with around 40 other women and a newborn baby to feed and care for.
This is the situation, Lord, in so many prisons around the world!
These women’s only crime was to have defended human rights, in particular the rights of their indigenous community, which suffers unjust discrimination.
Should people really have to suffer that much in defence of the right to live freely and happily on this Earth? May we always hold this question in our hearts, Lord, as did Jesus, your beloved.
By raising him from the dead, you placed your seal of approval on the choices he made and the struggles he fought.
May your Spirit fire us up with the energy to denounce this inhuman treatment, to put pressure on those responsible, and to demand justice from the authorities concerned. Lord hear our prayer.
Monika is a 13-year-old member of the ’Roma’ community. Along with five other young people, she was brutally assaulted one Sunday morning by the police in a flat in Budapest. They verbally abused her, dragged her out of bed, slapped her and threatened to kill her.
Being part of the Roma minority is a dangerous thing in certain regions of Hungary. Viewed with suspicion by the majority of the population, the Roma are often harassed and badly treated by the forces of law and order, for no other reason than that they belong to this group.
Is there really such a thing as an ’inferior’ group or race? Why do some people dislike them? Lord, you welcomed every man and woman, of any race and nationality, you treated them with respect and loved them. Why can we not do this today?
Lord Jesus, through your words and actions, God your Father accorded equal dignity to every human being. He approved the choices you made to bring to fruition his plans for the human race. We follow you and we trust you.
Lord, Father of all humankind, give us the strength of your Son, Jesus. Give us the means to combat the discrimination meted out to so many minorities in our world.