Act now! Time is running out for Sudanese Pastors
UPDATE 5 August 2015: Victory! The pastors have been freed from prison following their final hearing. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that Michael was convicted of inciting hatred and Reith of breaching public peace, but both were released on time already served. Following the judgement, Michael said: "I am feeling free because I was in jail for many months. I have become like I'm born again." Now they are free to return home. We did it! (AFP report here)
Two Christian pastors are on trial for their lives in Sudan.Their final hearing will be held on August 5. Now may be our last chance to convince the Sudanese government to acquit these men of the trumped up charges against them.
Pastors Yat Michael and Peter Yein Reith were arrested in December 2014 after Michael and his family returned to Khartoum to seek medical attention. While in the city, Pastor Michael delivered a sermon at the local Presbyterian Evangelical Church, which had been nearly destroyed by authorities earlier that month. Members of the church had been beaten, arrested, and fined by police. Immediately after his sermon, he was arrested on trumped up charges of sedition and spying. Pastor Reith spoke out against the unjust arrest of Pastor Michael, and was soon arrested himself.
One of the defending lawyers, Thabith Al-Zubir, asked the judge to drop the case because there was no clear evidence and because the pastors had been arrested illegally. Al-Zubir also said the two were illegally detained for a lengthy period of time without any formal trial.
The pastors have been charged with committing crimes with other churches to insult the Muslim faith, spying for outsiders, and collecting and leaking information of Sudanese national security. Two charges include the death sentence.
“To urge believers to be zealous for their church is not an insult against God,” Al-Zubir said. He argued that there was no evidence that the pastors were engaged in any sort of spying activity, and that these were trumped up charges to punish them for their Christian faith.
Although there appears to be a lack of evidence against the pastors, the Muslim judge appears to be in favor of the prosecution. But that’s no reason to give up hope and stop praying.
This NEW petition, addressed to the President of Sudan and the United States Secretary of State John Kerry, demands the immediate release of the pastors! (See our previous petition to the UN Commissioner for Human Rights regarding this issue HERE.)
This sort of persecution against Christians is not new in Sudan. Just as these pastors have been tested, so was Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian who was pregnant when she was put on death row last year. But as the world knows, fervent prayers and international pressure from CitizenGO members led to her release.
Now is the time to take action once more to save these pastors! Sign now!
Sign this petition now!
Urgent action needed!