Two Sudanese men, one a leader in the Sudan Church of Christ, are still in jail for allegedly aiding a now-released Czech aid worker Petr Jasek.
On Jan. 29, 2017, Rev. Hassan Abduraheem and geologist Abdumonem Abdumawla were found guilty by a court in the Sudanese capital Khartoum of aiding Jasek to "spy," incitement of hatred between religious groups, and propagation of false news. Both men were arrested in December 2015 for "aiding and abetting" Jasek in his alleged "spying." They were sentenced to 12 years in prison, reports WorldWatch Monitor.
However, Jasek was pardoned and released on Feb. 27. Supporters of Abduraheem and Abdumawla said there are no grounds on which to keep them in prison.
The Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union, Jan Figel, called for the pardon of the two jailed Sudanese men.
Abdumawla was arrested by Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in December 2015, after he began collecting money to help his friend, Ali Omer, a young Darfuri student, who had been injured and seriously burned during a demonstration in July 2013. Abdumawla was put in contact with Abduraheem and Jašek, who then donated money toward Omer's treatment, according to WorldWatch Monitor.
Abdumawla was held by the NISS between December 2015 and May 2016, not allowed to meet or communicate with his family during this time. He was moved to the attorney general's custody in May 2016 when the prosecutor started his criminal investigation.
He currently is being held in al-Huda Prison in Omdurman.
Abduraheem was arrested by NISS at his home on Dec. 19, 2015. NISS held him until May 9, 2016, when he too was moved to the attorney general's custody. WorldWatch Monitor reported the prosecutor started building a case against him, which revolves around his act of kindness in donating money toward the medical treatment for Omer. Officials said he also facilitated a meeting between Jašek and Omer, after which Jašek donated $5,000 to Omer's treatment.
While detained by the NISS, Abduraheem was not allowed to see his family, members of his church, or legal representatives. WorldWatch Monitor stated his family is especially concerned for his health as he suffers from stomach ulcers, and they have been unable to get his medication to him. He is currently also held in al-Huda Prison.
Jasek, who originally was found guilty of charges and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, was then pardoned and freed by President Omar Bashir.
Abduraheem and Abdumawla have appealed against their sentences, which have yet to be ruled on.
The chairman of Sudan's Legislation and Justice Committee at the National Assembly, Ahmed El Tijani, reported that Figel asked about the demolition of several churches. El Tijani told him the churches were demolished for land-ownership reasons, and reaffirmed that some mosques have been demolished for the same reason.
Last February, there were reports that Khartoum state authorities decided to demolish 25 churches. However, this decision has been suspended, reports WorldWatch Monitor.
Following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, seven former Sudanese dioceses moved to South Sudan leaving only two dioceses for the small Christian minority in Sudan, mainly in South Kordofan and Khartoum states, reports WorldWatch Monitor.
Figel said the exchanges he had during his visit "demonstrated readiness of Sudanese partners to engage in continuous and constructive dialogue on religious diversity in Sudan, Horn of Africa and globally."