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Sudan: PASTOR'S TRIAL VERDICT - accused receive harsh jail sentences

30 January 2017

PASTOR'S TRIAL VERDICT - accused receive harsh jail sentences

In a shock decision, a judge in Khartoum has found Petr Jasek, Abdulmonem Abdumawla and Hassan Kodi guilty in their long-running trial. Czech aid worker, Petr Jašek, 52, was sentenced to 23-and-a-half years after being found guilty of various charges, including spying. He was also fined 100,000 Sudanese pounds (around £12,300) for undertaking NGO work without a permit.

The other two men - a Sudanese church leader, Hassan Taour, and a Darfuri graduate, Abdulmonem Abdumawla - were each sentenced to 12 years, their major 'crime' being 'aiding and abetting' Jašek in his alleged spying. Their sentences include one year for 'spreading rumours that undermine the authority of the state' - even though the legal maximum penalty for this is six months in prison.

Lawyers for the three men plan to lodge appeals within 15 days.

This is a heavy blow to all those involved. Sources told Open Doors the verdict was pronounced in the presence of a great number of Christians attending the proceedings who received the verdict with great shock and sadness. Hassan's mother was so shocked, she fainted and needed to be 'escorted from the room.

Please continue to pray for the men, their families and the many shocked and alarmed Christians in Sudan.

alleged donations to rebel groups

Sudan Church of Christ leader Hassan Taour, Darfuri graduate Abdulmonem Abdumawla and Czech aid worker Petr Jašek were first detained in December 2015, alongside another Church of Christ pastor, Kuwa Shamal, who was released earlier this month.

The case against the men centred around Jašek's support for a Sudanese student injured during a protest in 2013. Jašek gave $5,000 (£3,995) to the student, Ali Omer. Jašek said the money was for Omer's medical costs, but the prosecution alleged that it was a donation to rebel groups in the southern regions of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur. Both Taour and fellow pastor Kuwa Shamal, who was released earlier this month, are from South Kordofan, while Abdumawla is from Darfur.

In October, the European Parliament adopted an Urgency Resolution, calling for the 'immediate and unconditional' release of the four men on trial 'on charges of highlighting alleged Christian suffering in war-ravaged areas of Sudan'.

churches destroyed

Sudan is ranked fifth on Open Doors' 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries in which it is most difficult to live as a Christian.

The country has a history of unjust arrest and imprisonment of Christians. One of the most notorious cases was the arrest of Mariam Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian, who was initially sentenced to death for apostasy and flogging for 'adultery'. After international outcry she was released in was released in June 2014.

Authorities have also followed a programme of confiscating church property and demolishing buildings. Indeed, in a separate case last week, a Sudanese court ordered authorities to issue official letters to four churches whose places of worship they intended to demolish. Lawyers were dismayed to learn that the official decision not only involved the buildings of the 4 churches they represented, but the gathering places of 21 others.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Please pray:

  • For the Lord's comfort to the men and their families
  • For wisdom for the lawyers and that justice will prevail
  • For grace for the church in Sudan whose evident and obvious suffering is denied by the government.

More News from Sudan:

Find out more about persecution in Sudan.