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Rev. Kuwa Shemaal released from Sudan prison

January 9 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Rev. Kuwa Shemaal was released from Kober Prison in Khartoum North on 2 January 2017 (csw.org.uk)
Rev. Kuwa Shemaal was released from Kober Prison in Khartoum North on 2 January 2017 (csw.org.uk)

Rev. Kuwa Shemaal, one of four Christian men on trial in Sudan for national security-related crimes, was released from prison on 2 January, after the judge concluded there was no evidence against him and dismissed the charges.

However the judge confirmed the charges against Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Kodi, Petr Jašek from Czechia, and Abdelmunim Abdelmoula, whose trial is set to continue.

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) the case against the men centres on the provision of funds for the medical treatment of Ali Omar, a young man from Darfur who was injured in a demonstration in 2013. After learning of Omar’s plight, Jašek travelled to Khartoum in December 2015 to meet him, and donate $5,000 for his treatment. The meeting was facilitated by Rev. Kodi, who Jašek met at an international conference in November 2015, and Abdelmoula, who is a friend of Omar and collected funds for his treatment.

As he was leaving Sudan, Jašek was searched at Khartoum Airport by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), who found a receipt for the $5,000 donation, signed by Rev. Kodi and Andelmoula. They arrested Jašek and confiscated his personal belongings, including his mobile phone, laptop, and camera.

The prosecution alleges that the $5,000 donation was in reality support for rebel movements in the South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur. By framing the case in this manner, NISS has attempted to exploit the fact that Kodi and Shemaal are originally from the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan and Abdelmoula is from Darfur, the CSW report states.

Charges

The four men were charged of conspiring against the state and espionage, and a number of other violations of the Sudanese Penal Code.

Last August a Sudanese court began the trial against them. During former hearings, the prosecutor accused Rev. Jašek of entering Sudan illegally from South Sudan, when he visited South Kordofan in 2012. He allegedly gave money to a number of rebel fighters. This is regarded as support for war against the state.

As he is working for the international NGOs Persecution Project Foundation (PPF) and The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), which both support persecuted Christians, he was charged as well with “tarnishing Sudan’s image internationally” as well.

Pastors Shemaal and Kodi attended a conference in Addis Ababa in 2015, during which they alleged that the Sudanese government oppresses Christians. This is considered to be inciting hatred against state and within Muslim and Christian communities. Darfuri convert Abdelmoula was accused of supporting the pastors in their “subversive activities”.

During the 19 December court session, new charges were raised against the accused. A prosecution witness and a NISS officer said they detected radio broadcasting on the web and YouTube videos posted by two hostile foreign groups. He said that the Czech pastor is a member of one of these groups.  


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