Sudanese pastors charged with espionage, hate speech

The Sudanese prosecution office has filed eight charges against several pastors who have been in detention since May and December 2015. The first court session is postponed to 21 August.

The Sudanese prosecution office has filed eight charges against several pastors who have been in detention since May and December 2015. The first court session is postponed to 21 August.

Lawyer Dimas Jamer Marajan, the head of the defence team for Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Kodi, pastor Kuwa Shemaal, activist Abdelmonim Abdelmoula, and a Sudanese pastor named Peter Jacques who also carries the Czech nationality, informed Radio Dabanga about the developments yesterday.

Last Sunday, the State Security Prosecution filed eight charges against the accused, six of them related to Sudan's Criminal Code (1991), Marajan explained, and referred the case to court.

“The State Security Prosecution has filed serious charges against the defendants,” Marajan said. “But they are difficult to prove in terms of the law. In my opinion, the position of the defendants is reassuring.”

Espionage, hate speech

The criminal charges under Sudan's Criminal Code (1991) against the four defendants are as follows: conspiring against the state (21), espionage against the country (53), entering and photographing military areas and works (57), calling for opposition to public authority by use of violence (63), provoking hatred against or amongst sects (64), and publishing false news (66). Several of the charges are punishable by death or life imprisonment.

In addition, under the Sudanese law that applies to immigration and passports, the defendants are accused of immigrating in illegal ways (30). Finally they are charged with conducting voluntarily jobs without permission from authorities.

Marajan added that his defence team will do everything in its capacity to prove the innocence of the accused of the charges against them. The first hearing of the trial is postponed until this Sunday because the defendants were not transferred from their cells to the court on 14 August.


The filing of the charges follows a detention that lasted more than seven months for the four Christians. For most of the detention period their whereabouts were not disclosed by the security service. Shemaal and Kodi's health reportedly deteriorated in prison.

Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Kodi (49), Secretary-General of the Sudanese Church of Christ, and pastor Telal Ngosi (44) were detained by NISS officers on 18 December. They were reportedly questioned about attending a Christian conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Pastor Kuwa Shemaal, the head of Missions in the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), was also held last December, and again detained in Khartoum in May. Kodi and Shemaal were transferred to Omdurman Prison in the beginning of August ahead of their court hearing.

Abdelmonim Abdelmoula was detained in May 2015, lawyer Marajan said.

According to Sudanese law, an individual must either be released or presented to court 45 days after their arrest. However neither event has occurred in the case of the Christians. On 10 May, it was reported that pastor Kodi was referred to the State Security Prosecution in Khartoum.

Correction 20/08/2016 23:00: The date of the first trial is August 21, not August 28, as was previously reproted in this article.