Oklahoma court favors church in Syrian torture lawsuit

Source: Associated Press

By SEAN MURPHY

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man from Syria who says he was tortured in his home country after converting to Christianity has no legal recourse against an Oklahoma church that published his name and baptism online, the state’s highest court ruled on Wednesday.

The former Muslim, identified in the lawsuit only as “John Doe,” says that after his baptism in 2012 at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tulsa he returned to Syria and was kidnapped, tortured and nearly beheaded by radical Muslims who learned of his baptism online. He claims he escaped by killing a relative who aided his captors and now is wanted for murder in Syria.

“Appellant asserts that he suffered numerous physical injuries and psychological damage, all proximately caused by appellees’ publication of his baptism, in contravention of promises they supposedly made to him that it would be kept confidential,” the court wrote in its majority opinion.

But the court upheld a lower court ruling and decided that despite the plaintiff’s injuries, courts must refrain from “undue interference with religious beliefs and practices.”

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