CHRISTIAN charities have condemned the long prison sentences handed down to a Czech aid worker and two Sudanese men, in Khartoum, on Sunday.
The Czech worker, Petr Jašek, was sentenced to 23-and-a-half years after being found guilty of multiple crimes, including espionage; entering and photographing military areas; inciting hatred between sects; and the propagation of false news. A Sudanese pastor, the Revd Hassan Abduraheem (News, 29 January 2016), and a Sudanese man, Abdumonem Abdumawla, were each sentenced to 12 years after being found guilty of multiple charges including espionage.
The case against the three men centres on a donation of $5000 given by Mr Jašek to fund medical treatment for a Darfuri student who was severely injured during a student demonstration in 2013. The prosecution alleged that the money was to support rebel movements in the South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur regions. Mr Abduraheem is from the Nuba Mountains, in South Kordofan, and Mr Abdumawla is from Darfur.
“The serious charges against these men were wholly unwarranted, and the excessive sentences are unjustified, given the paucity of evidence against them,” Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s advocacy director, Joel Edwards, said. “We call for the annulment of the verdict, and the immediate release of these three men.”
The chief executive of Release, Paul Robinson, said that the case “highlights the growing hostility in Sudan towards Christians and the Church. . . The government is already demolishing churches. Release calls on Sudan to respect the rights of Christians and others and to release these men, whose only crime was compassion.”
All three men plan to appeal immediately.