The two South Sudanese Presbyterian priests, accused by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of capital offences, were released today despite being found guilty by a Khartoum court.
Rev. Yat Michael Ruot was detained by NISS officers in December after preaching in the Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum North. His colleague David 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.
“Judge Ahmed Ghaboush found both pastors guilty of the charges,” defence lawyer Osman Mubarak told Radio Dabanga this afternoon. “Yet, he decided that the period they served in detention was sufficient punishment.”