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Location of Sudanese pastors ‘unknown after arrest’

February 23 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Christian women worshipping in a Sudanese church (barnabasfund.org)
Christian women worshipping in a Sudanese church (barnabasfund.org)

Two Sudanese pastors were detained by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in December 2015. Their whereabouts are still unknown, a Sudanese human rights organisation reported.

‘Their families and church authority were prevented from visiting them. Both are at risk of torture,’ writes the Human Rights and Development Organization (Hudo) Centre in a statement on Monday.

Pastor Hassan Abdelrahim Kodi (49), Secretary-General of the Sudanese Church of Christ, and Pastor Telal Ngosi (44) were detained on 18 December by NISS officers. They were reportedly questioned about attending a Christian conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Since then, the two pastors have been held incommunicado. The NISS has prevented their families and church representatives from visiting them, or given access to lawyers.

Hudo Centre said that the family and church fear that both could be under torture or ill-treatment. Kodi is known to be suffering from duodenal ulcers.

The human rights organisation called upon the Sudanese president, the Ministry of Justice, and the Minister of Guidance and Endowments to reveal the pastors’ whereabouts and to either charge them with a recognisable offence, or unconditionally release them. It stresses the urgent need for access to proper health care for Kodi.

Persecution of Christians

Hudo said it frequently receives reports about detention and ill-treatment of Christians in Sudan. The NISS arrested Rev. Kuwa Shemaal and Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim, both pastors of the Sudanese Church of Christ in Khartoum, in the same period.

On 26 November 2015, voluntary Christian theology teacher Ayoub Kafi Paulus was arrested by police officers and taken to Kafuri police station. He was released two days later, without a legal case registered against him.

On 25 June, police detained twelve Christian girls from the church and filed a case under Article 152 which indicates indecent dressing. The case was held against ten of them, but the court of Khartoum North charged some of them and dismissed the other cases.

South Sudanese pastors Michael Yat Ruot and Peter Yein Reith were held in prison for eight months last year. Both were held incommunicado until 1 March, when they were charged by the NISS of offending Islam, punishable by flogging, and undermining the constitutional order and espionage, which potentially carry the death penalty or life imprisonment. They were released and returned to South Sudan in August.


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