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Power cut sees Sudan court session against pastors postponed

August 29 - 2016 KHARTOUM

The Criminal Court of Central Khartoum has postponed the second session against three pastors and a Christian layman scheduled for today, to Thursday.

The session was stopped owing to a power cut at the court building, defence lawyer Dimas James Marajan told Radio Dabanga. The first session took place last Monday, during which the public prosecutor demanded the harshest punishment for the accused, and the judge heard the investigating consultant, who spoke on behalf of the security apparatus that filed the case against the defendants.

The four defendants are a Czech pastor named Petr Jasek, Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Kodi and Rev. Kuwa Shemaal, Nuba pastors from South Kordofan, and Darfuri activist Abdelmoneim Abdelmoula.

They have been charged with conspiring against the state, espionage, entering and photographing military areas, calling for the use of violence against the authorities, provoking hatred against or amongst sects, and spreading false information. Several of the charges are punishable by death or life imprisonment.

The Human Rights and Development Organization (Hudo) Centre reported on Sunday that according to the prosecutor, the four defendants carried out intelligence activities against Sudan and supported the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan.

They are accused of fabricating allegations about genocide, extra-judicial killings, civilian displacement and the burning of villages in the Nuba Mountains, and about the demolition of churches, oppression, and torture of Christians by government forces. Rev. Jasek allegedly arrived in Sudan with the aim to take photos of demolished churches.

The defence lawyer explained that suspect Abdelmonim Abdelmoula has been accused of receiving $5,000 from Rev. Jasek. The money was handed to him by Rev. Kodi, and was meant to be given to a certain Ali Mousa for the treatment of burns he sustained during a student demonstration.

The session began with the testimony of a consultant of the State Security, who showed photographs and video footage which he claimed were taken in South Kordofan’s Nuba Mountains in 2012.

“Some of the photos show a friend of Rev. Jasek, named Derak Philip, director of an unregistered NGO that allegedly provides logistical support to the SPLM-N in the Nuba Mountains,” Marajan said. “Other photos depict houses and churches, of which the prosecutor claimed were made in the Nuba Mountains as well.

“Yet, during the presentation of the photos the electricity was cut. This was before the consultant had the time to present recordings that were also brought in as evidence.”

US Special Envoy

The SPLM-N has called on the US Special Envoy Donald Booth to help to secure the release of the accused pastors and activist.

Sudan Tribune reported on Saturday that ahead of Booth’s visit to Khartoum, SPLM-N Secretary-General Yasir Arman phoned him on Friday to advocate for the release of the four defendants.

According to a statement by the SPLM-N, the US diplomat said that the American embassy in Khartoum is following this “important issue”.

“The Secretary-General sent the same message to the other international envoys to Sudan" added the statement, underlining that the issue is related to the “right of citizenship without discrimination, and basic human rights”.

In a related development, the SPLM-N formed a 23-member committee to reach the international community. and to campaign for the rights of Sudanese Christians, Sudan Tribune reported.

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