Two Christians Released from Prison in Sudan by Presidential Pardon


Two Christians Released from Prison in Sudan by Presidential Pardon

5/11/2017 Sudan (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Reverend Hassan Abduraheem Tawor and Abdulmonem Abdumawla, two Christians who were arrested in December 2015 in Sudan, have been released from prison by a presidential pardon. The two were serving a prison sentence of 12 years each for espionage and “inciting hatred between sects.” Sudan’s case against them centered on aid that they had sent for medical treatment to a student who was injured during anti-government protests. The government accused the pastors of secretly aiding rebel movements with their donations. Both pastors had ties to people in the Nuba Mountains where rebel groups are fighting an insurgency. The two pastors were arrested along with Reverend Kuwa Shamal Abazmam Kurri and Petr Jašek, a Czech national, who faced similar charges. Reverend Kuwa was released from prison in January and Jašek was released in February of this year.

In April, ICC sent a petition calling for the release of the two Christians to the Sudanese government. The petition was signed by concerned individuals from more than 90 countries.

Although this is certainly a positive step for these two prisoners, it comes during a tense time in Sudan, as the government has been demolishing and selling off church property. Just days ago, on May 7, Sudan destroyed a church that Rev Hassan Abduraheem served at before his detainment. It was the last church in the Soba al Arabi area outside of Khartoum. The Sudanese government has announced plans to demolish more churches in the coming months.

This is not the first time that Sudan has attempted to imprison Christians on false charges. In 2015, Pastors Michael Yat and Peter Yen spent more than seven months in prison before being acquitted of trumped up charges of espionage and waging war against the state. Wrongful accusations have also affected Christian women like Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan. In 2014 Meriam was sentenced to death for “apostasy.” Meriam was a Christian who was born to a Muslim father, making her legally a Muslim in Sudan. She chose to marry a Christian man which is against Sharia law. Meriam was released after her case sparked uproar in the international community. She now advocates for persecuted Christians on a regular basis.

Regarding the release of the Reverend Hassan and Abdulmonem, Meriam Ibrahim told ICC, “It’s very good news, and I am sure people rejoicing this moment as they did when they heard about my released [sic], I am so thankful for the gift of love and prayers.”

Daniel Harris, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We celebrate Sudan’s decision to pardon Reverend Hassan Abduraheem Tawor and Abdulmonem Abdumawla from their wrongful prison sentences; however, we cannot overlook the eroding state of religious rights in Sudan as their government overtly oppresses Christianity by demolishing church properties and imprisoning Christians. We strongly encourage Sudan to recognize the right to religious freedom that Christians have and to work to protect rather than suppress those freedoms.”


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