Two Christian pastors are being held in an unknown location after they were arrested by authorities in December 2015. No official charges have been brought against them. A third pastor, who was also arrested in December but later freed, has been required to report daily to authorities for questioning.
National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested Telahoon Nogosi Kassa Rata – the leader of the Khartoum North Evangelical Church – on 13 December. This was followed five days later by the arrests of two pastors of the Sudan Church of Christ, Hassan Abduraheem Kodi Taour and Kuwa Shamal. Though Kuwa Shamal was released after three days, Pastor Rata and Pastor Taour remain in prison.
Pastor Rata’s family have been allowed to visit him on one occasion whilst he was being held in Kober Prison, but all subsequent attempts by lawyers, families and colleagues to see Pastor Rata and Pastor Taour have been fruitless.
Sources also report that three letters from Pastor Taour’s lawyer to the Sudanese Human Rights Council for help in gaining access to his client have gone unanswered.
Local Christians fear that both men may be ill-treated, and there are concerns for Pastor Hassan’s health, as he suffers from ulcers, and this condition may be exasperated by his current circumstances.
Kuwa Shamal, who was released on 21 December, was made to report daily to the NISS until this was cancelled on 16 January. But last week, he was again told to report to their offices daily.
Church leaders in Sudan face opposition and persecution from the country’s authorities, leading to numerous arrests, including two pastors who were released last year following international outcry. Ranked number eight in the Open Doors World Watch List, Islam is deeply embedded in Sudan’s culture and Sharia (Islamic law) is the foundation of Sudan’s legal system.
Source: Open Doors
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