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Canadian pastor released from prison

Tim Stephens with his family Facebook/Fairview Baptist Church

Canadian pastor released from prison

After 2½ weeks, pastor Tim Stephens went free on Thursday afternoon. Officials in Alberta, Canada, also reopened his locked-up church to its congregation. Police arrested Stephens on June 14 for not enforcing pandemic health protocols at an outdoor worship service. Authorities had changed the locks at his church earlier in June. He must return to court on July 14 for a hearing on his alleged health order violations.

Why was Stephens released? Stephens had refused to sign a bail agreement requiring him to follow the health orders in place at the time. On July 1, Canada Day, Alberta moved to the final stage of its reopening plan and rescinded nearly all pandemic restrictions. Stephens then signed an agreement to observe the new health orders since none would limit his church activity. On a Thursday podcast, Stephens’ brother said the pastor could have legal recourse for wrongful imprisonment.

Dig deeper: Read my report in Liberties on Canadian pastors who faced prosecution over pandemic violations.

Lauren Dunn

Lauren covers education for WORLD’s digital, print, and podcast platforms. She is a graduate of Thomas Edison State University and World Journalism Institute. She lives with her family in Wichita, Kan.


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