After eight months of legal limbo, Sudan finally accused pastors Hassan and Kuwa of at least seven crimes, some punishable by death if found guilty.
Hassan Abduraheem Taour and Kuwa Shamal, both pastors of the beleaguered Sudan Church of Christ, “are accused of complicity to execute a criminal agreement and waging war against the state,” according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The two Christian ministers also face charges of espionage, using violence or criminal force to oppose the public authority, inciting hatred between classes, CSW added. The maximum sentence for waging war against the state (Article 51 of Sudan’s law) and espionage (Article 53) is the death penalty.
Hassan had been detained without charge since December 18, in contravention of Khartoum’s own law. Meanwhile, Kuwa was detained on the same date, released, and then re-arrested again without charge on May 24. According to Sudanese law, 45 days from being arrested a detainee should either appear before court or be released, a rule ignored in the cases of Hassan and Kuwa.
Originally it was believed that the pastors had appeared in court on August 14, but World Watch Monitor now understands that on the day of the hearing it was suddenly postponed until August 21. And according to Sudan Tribune their trial started on this date amid strict security measures.
Among the host of other crimes, the Christians are accused of “propagation of false news articles, and entry and photography of military areas and equipment.”
Both Hassan and Kuwa are from the Nuba people group, native to a border region within the now independent South Sudan, and who are among groups resisting ethnic and religious rule from Khartoum. Even before Kuwa’s re-arrest, sources reported that Hassan would face charges of “undermining national security,” charges Sudan has previously used after prolonged detaining of Christians.
Please continue to pray for Hassan and Kuwa as they await news on their next court appearance.
Sudan is ranked #8 on the Open Doors 2016 World Watch List of places where Christian persecution is worst.