The 3 Christians Imprisoned In Sudan - Everything You Need To Know
A Czech aid worker and two local pastors have been given long prison sentences this month after their arrest in December 2015.
Petr Jasek was sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to undermine the state and pursuing NGO work without a permit. Abulmonem Abdulmawla and Hassan Taour were given 11 year sentences for assisting him and espionage. The lawyers have indicated that they will appeal the sentences.
Image: Petr Jasek and Hassan Taour, two of the men given long prison sentences in Sudan.
The Situation In Sudan
Since independence in 2011, the situation for believers has worsened in Sudan. An authoritarian regime controls both public and private life, and the government is ruled by Sharia law. Islamic oppression is the main driver of persecution for Christians, and 97% of the population is made up of Sunni Muslims. Believers in Sudan are arrested for sharing their faith and churches are regularly attacked.
In 2015 Petr Jasek was arrested as he was leaving Sudan. He had a receipt in his possession showing he had supported a Sudanese student named Ali Omer, who was injured in a protest in 2013. On his electronic devices he had photos and videos showing the young man’s situation. It was thought he was promoting Omer’s cause to defame the government. A week later, Abulmonem Abdulmawla, Hassan Taour and another man, Kuma Shamal, were also arrested. They were kept in a prison in Khartoum, the capital, without any official charges. Their families were not allowed to visit.
December 2015: All four men were arrested and held in Khartoum prison.
December 2015: Kuma Shamal was released.
May 2016: Kuma Shamal re-arrested.
August 2016: All transferred to the Omdurman prison.
August 2016: Case finally goes to court (hearings occur almost weekly).
October 2016: European Parliament calls for “immediate and unconditional” release.
December 2016: Due to their health deteriorating, Kuma Shamal and Hassan Taour cannot attend a hearing.
January 2017: Kuma Shamal released due to insufficient evidence.
January 2017: Petr Jasek sentenced to life in prison and fined US$16,000. Hassan Taour and Abulmonem Abdulmawla are given 11 year sentences.
February 26 2017: Jasek given a presidential pardoned and flown back to Prague with the Czech Foreign Minister.
May 11 2017: Taour and Abdulmawla were also extended a presidential pardon and released.
During hearings supporters would often gather outside the court to sing hymns and shout words of encouragement. Since the arrests, many churches have been closed down and their buildings demolished. Licenses for new buildings have also been difficult to get and many believers have been left without a place to worship. Many Christians attended the proceedings when the men were given their sentences–life in prison for Petr Jasek and 11 year sentences for Hassan Taour and Abulmonem Abdulmawla. They received the news in shock and sadness. Hassan Taour’s mother reportedly fainted and had to be escorted out of the room.
After his arrest in 2015, Petr Jasek has been given a presidential pardon and freed by Sudan’s President, Omar Bashir. Jasek was released on 26 February and flew back to Prague with The Czech Foreign Minister. More than 40,00 people signed a petition for Jasek’s release and many of his friends wept with relief when they heard the good news.
Following his release, supporters said there were no longer any reason for keeping Hassan Taour and Abulmonem Abdulmawla in prison. Taour and Abdulmawla were released from prison on 11 May. Jan Figel, the EU Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU, called for the men to also receive a presidential pardon, on his visit in March.
- Praise God for Jasek's, Taour's and Abdulmawla's release.
- Praise God for wisdom for the lawyers who appeal the original sentence and that justice prevailed.
- Pray for the church in Sudan who is suffering, that they will share the love of Christ with their persecutors.
Source: World Watch Monitor.