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Detained Sudanese priests transferred to Omdurman Prison

August 7 - 2016 OMDURMAN
A Sudanese Church of Christ building in Omdurman demolished on 17 February 2014 (smyrnaministries.org)
A Sudanese Church of Christ building in Omdurman demolished on 17 February 2014 (smyrnaministries.org)

Two priests who were detained in Khartoum in December last year, have been transferred to Omdurman Prison, ahead of a 14 August court hearing.

Pastors Hassan Abdelrahim Kodi and Kuwa Shemaal were moved from police cells to the main jail in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman on Thursday.

Sources told Radio Tamazuj that the decision to transfer the two men was taken after complaints about their safety in the police cells. Reportedly, the two detainees asked to be transferred to Omdurman Prison instead of being held in the attorney general‘s custody.

Pastor Kodi is secretary-general of the Sudanese Church of Christ. He was held by the agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Omdurman on 18 December last year, together with Shemaal and pastor Telal Ngosi. They were interrogated about their participation in a Christian conference in Addis Ababa.

According to Sudanese law, an individual must either be released or presented to court 45 days after their arrest. However neither event has occurred in the case of the clergymen. On 10 May, it was reported that pastor Kodi was referred to the State Security Prosecution in Khartoum.

Rev. Kodi is known to be suffering from duodenal ulcers. Shemaal, who was suffering from malaria, received treatment after religious leaders had paid the medical expenses. The priests' defence lawyers also complained about the quality of the meals served to their clients in custody.

Persecution

Early in 2014, the Sudanese churches reported that Christians in the country were being harassed by the authorities and that their right to practice their religion was violated by the government.

The government has stopped granting permits to build new churches in Sudan, the church leaders said. They claimed that some Christians opted for praying at home because they were harassed on their way to church.

The Human Rights and Development Organization (Hudo) Centre said it frequently receives reports about detention and ill-treatment of Christians in Sudan.

In December 2014 and January 2015, NISS agents detained two South Sudanese preachers. After months of incommunicado detention, they were transferred to Kober Prison in Khartoum North and charged with capital offences. In August, they were eventually released, and returned to South Sudan after more than eight months in prison.


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