The apostolic vicar of Aleppo, Syria, has said that he is “optimistic” about the prospects for release of Father Hanna Jallouf, the Franciscan priest who faces trial before an Islamic court on charges of collaboration with the Syrian President Basshar ul Assad regime.
Bishop Georges Abou Khazen told a media agency that he has been in touch with Father Jallouf, and has been reassured that the priest was not harmed when he was kidnapped on October 5. Having been released, Father Jallouf is now free to serve his parish communities, the bishop said, but he will not be allowed to leave Syria until he speaks with a local Islamic leader. Father Jallouf “does not know what the talk will be about,” the bishop added.
The kidnapping and subsequent house arrest has taken place in a region under the control of Islamic rebels.