Tuesday, June 02, 2015

USCIRF Condemns Sudan's Prosecution of 2 Pastors

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a press release yesterday condemning the government of Sudan for its continuing prosecution of two Christian clergymen on "baseless charges of undermining Sudan’s constitution and waging war against the state"-- crimes which carry a possible death penalty or life in prison.  USCIRF says:
Revs. [Yat] Michael and [Peter] Reith, both of South Sudanese origin, belong to the Presbyterian Evangelical Church Khartoum Bahri congregation.  The congregation has brought a legal case against Sudanese authorities to stop the illegal sale of church land by Sudanese authorities to a Muslim businessman.  The National Intelligence Security Services (NISS) detained Rev. Michael in December 2014, after recording him urging parishioners at a church service to continue standing firm through the trials they were experiencing.  The same month, authorities partially destroyed the church and arrested 37 congregants.  Rev. Reith was detained in January 2015.  Both pastors were held at an undisclosed location and were not granted access to lawyers and family until March 1.
The defendants are also charged with insulting  religious beliefs, breach of the public peace, arousing feelings of discontent among the regular forces and disclosure of official information.