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Pastors not allowed to leave Sudan

August 13 - 2015 KHARTOUM
South Sudanese sing at the First Presbyterian Church of Albert Lea (Albert Lea Tribune)
South Sudanese sing at the First Presbyterian Church of Albert Lea (Albert Lea Tribune)

The two South Sudanese Presbyterian pastors who were released in Khartoum last week, have lost an appeal to have their travel ban lifted.

The appeal was rejected after it came to light that the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) was behind the ban, Premier Christian Radio reported on Monday.

Rev. Yat Ruot was detained by NISS officers in December after preaching in the Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum North. His colleague Yein Reith was held in January after delivering a letter to the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowment asking about the whereabouts of Ruot.

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 carries the death penalty or life imprisonment. The pastors repeatedly denied the charges. The NISS also imposed a travel ban.

On 5 August, the judge found both clergymen guilty of the charges. Yet, he decided that the period they served in detention was sufficient punishment.

The pastors were released the same day, but were not allowed to return to South Sudan. In response to their appeal to lift the ban, they were informed that the court had no authority to rule on the issue.

According to Premier Christian Radio, it has been reported that the NISS did not agree with the judge’s decision to release the men.


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