People from South Sudan stand near a tent used as a church at a railway station camp, where they have spent the last four years, in Khartoum May 11, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah *Editors: This photo may only be republis

One year after Meriam Ibrahim's release, two Christians face possible death penalty in Sudan

People from South Sudan stand near a tent used as a church at a railway station camp, where they have spent the last four years, in Khartoum May 11, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah *Editors: This photo may only be republis

People from South Sudan stand near a tent used as a church at a railway station camp, where they have spent the last four years, in Khartoum on May 11, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-SUDAN-CHRISTIANS, originally transmitted on May 20, 2015.


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

 

(RNS) Last year, a death penalty sentence slapped on a Sudanese doctor for refusing to renounce her Christian faith stirred international outrage and heightened calls on the government to increase religious liberty.

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim was released a month later, but now two Christian pastors have been jailed and they also face a possible death sentence.

The Rev. Michael Yat and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith, both from the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, have been charged with undermining the constitutional system and spying, offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment.

The clerics are charged with waging a war against the state and assault on religious belief.

“We know they have been arrested, but we don’t know where they are being detained,” said the Rev. Kori Romla Koru, general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches. “We are trying to find them.”

Yat was arrested last year after visiting the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church’s Bahri congregation in Khartoum, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a charity that works on behalf of persecuted Christians.

The congregation had resisted the takeover of the church by a Muslim businessman, who had demolished part of the worship center.

In December, police beat and arrested 38 Christians for worshipping in the church.

With Yat’s arrest, South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church sent Reith with a letter to the authorities to demand his release. He was arrested on Jan. 11.

Human rights groups have expressed deep concern over the charges, warning that the two clerics could face torture.

“It is unacceptable that after enduring extended detentions without charge, the men now face extreme and unwarranted charges,” said Mervyn Thomas, CSW’s chief executive, said earlier this month.

Since the separation of Sudan and South Sudan in 2011, Sudan has forced out all foreign missionaries, raided churches and arrested and interrogated Christians on grounds that they belonged to South Sudan.

YS/MG END RNS

Comments

  1. “Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary.” (Sura 5:17)
    “They are… dogs!” – JESUS (Mark 7:27)
    “They are Swine!” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)

    Bigoted, ancient, barbaric nonsense.

  2. I am a Sudan scholar of more than 4 decades. I have been in this church in Khartoum Bahri. This story is highly misleading.
    Meriam (now living in US (New England, I believe) was taken to court not by the government of Sudan,but by her own brothers to punish her for “bringing shame to the family” by marrying the wrong man. (A southerner living in the US). A technicality of family law helped the brothers in their despicable act ( she was raised as an Ethiopian Christian by her mother who had been abandoned by her Muslim Sudanese father).
    The church in Bahri has been a bone of contention for over a decade because it was built by squatters on land belonging to a local Muslim, who wants his land back for building low cost houses. It is very simple: about 25 ‘ by 50’ with a corrugated “roof” for shelter.
    There are several churches in Bahri and more in Khartoum where I have worshipped freely. Demonizing Khartoum is easy in the West,but it is unfair (and also un-Christian).

  3. The persecution of the Church is to be expected, Jesus said hated him first so its only natural for them to hate his followers. Many would be be-headed others burned alive, to these people this is their great tribulation. What really gets me in all of this is how the great preacher of our times convinces their congregation that they are somehow special and will never have to face their great tribulation because they will be caught-up in rapture.

    For these people are paying in blood to spread the gospel of Christ while the rich and powerful churches in the west lay back in the luxury and comfort of the millions they have accumulated from merchandising the gospel of Christ. For these people the great tribulation has already begun.

    To the Church of Laodicea!

  4. Atheist Max, I’m assuming that you know fully well that those “quotations” are entirely false and do not appear in the Bible. You’re perfectly entitled to your opinion, but when you deliberately lie and misrepresent in order to denigrate others, then you have a lot of nerve calling someone else “bigoted”.

  5. @Jacob A Wilson,

    ” you know fully well that those “quotations” are entirely false and do not appear in the Bible.”

    Wrong!

    Jesus calls gentiles “DOGS”

    “Now the woman was a Gentile,….And she kept asking him to cast the demon out of her daughter. Jesus said…”it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs!
    But she…said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs [as you say we are] under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”…
    And Jesus said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter …”

    Shameful, bigoted garbage.

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