THREE Sudanese Christians charged with multiple offences, two of which carry the death penalty, appeared in court on Sunday.
The Revd Hassan Abduraheem and Abdulmonem Abdumawla have been detained in Sudan since December. The Revd Kuwa Shamal has been held since May.
The men are accused of at least seven crimes, including waging war against the state and espionage, the religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CWS) reports. The maximum penalty for both is death.
Mr Abduraheem, a senior minister and Vice Moderator of the Sudan Church of Christ, and Mr Abdumawla were detained after raising money to help pay the medical costs of a young Darfuri man, who was injured during a demonstration at the Quran Karim University, in Omdurman.
The case against Mr Shamal, Head of the Sudan Church of Christ Missions Committee, is believed to be related to his friendship with Mr Abduraheem, and his senior position in the Sudan Church of Christ. He was earlier released (News, 29 January).
The hearing lasted four hours, while about 100 Christians from Khartoum gathered outside to sing hymns, CSW reports. The charity’s chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, said that it was “wholly unacceptable that this trial has proceeded despite the fact that the defendants have had limited access to their legal team. We call on the Sudanese government to ensure that the trial is conducted with respect to Fair Trial Principles.”
The charity reports that Darfuri students are being increasingly targeted by the National Intelligence and Security Services in Sudan, who have “violently suppressed peaceful student demonstrations against government repression”.
The next hearing is scheduled for Monday 29 August.