Pastor Freed in Sudan, Others Still face charges
Sudan (MNN) — 2017 is starting out on a note of praise for Rev. Kuwa Shamal Abazmam Kurri (pictured left), the head of the mission office of the Sudan Church of Christ.
Rev. Shamal freed in Sudan. (Photo courtesy of Middle East Concern)
Rev. Shamal, along with Rev. Abduraheem (pictured right) and Mr. Abdumawla — Sudanese nationals — and Mr. Jašek, a Czech citizen, have been behind bars in Sudan for over a year facing serious state charges. However, on January 2nd, Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for theVoice of the Martyrs USA says, “The judge ruled there was not enough evidence to continue the charges and the trial against him, and he was set to be released to his family.”
It’s great news that’s tempered by this, “The charges against the other three continue. We believe there will be another hearing next Monday continuing the trial against them.”
(Photo courtesy of VOM)
Citing both the Middle East Concern and Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports, Nettleton says the three raised money to treat a badly burned young man who had taken part in a student protest in 2013. When the group was arrested, the money was confiscated, and charges were leveled that included (for Jasek) waging war against the state, violating restrictions in military areas, spreading rumors to defame the state, espionage, and inciting strife between communities. Abduraheem and Abdumawla will only be tried for the last two of these charges.
“The trial will continue on Monday”, Nettleton says, adding that they’ll finally get a look at the legal team’s strategy. “Our understanding is the prosecution is now finished. Starting on Monday, the defense lawyers will be able to present their case.”
If convicted, the punishment for some of the charges could include the death penalty or life imprisonment.
The good news: “It seems like the fact that the judge has already looked at the evidence in the case of one of the pastors and said, ‘There’s simply not enough evidence to hold this man; you’re free to go,’ hopefully, that will happen with the others as well, because the evidence against all of them is basically the same.”
VOM’s association with the case? “We do have a connection with Mr. Jasek, the Czech brother. He has helped us to deliver aid in Sudan as well as in Northern Nigeria. That kind of makes it a personal connection, the fact that he’s helped us deliver aid in those countries.” VOM’s PrisonerAlert explains it this way:
While his work has always been humanitarian in nature, the Sudanese government has sought to characterize him as a “filmmaker” who was conspiring against the Sudanese state. They claim that his donation toward medical care for the injured young man was actually support for South Sudanese rebels.
(Screen capture courtesy of Prayercast)
VOM is encouraging people to write a letter of encouragement to Mr. Jasek. You may mail your letter in care of the Sudan Embassy in Washington, D.C., to let Sudan’s government know that Christians around the world are aware of his case and are concerned for these falsely accused men.
Then, pray: “Pray for them physically and emotionally that they’ll be encouraged, protected, and strong. Pray for their families, that they’ll be encouraged as well. We hope this is coming to a close. We hope soon there will be a pronouncement that all of these men are innocent, just as we celebrate the release of Pastor Kuwa [Shamal].”