|Pastors Kuwa Shamal Abu Zumam and Abdulraheem Kodi could face the death penalty if convicted of the charges they face.|
Sudan- Two evangelical pastors from the Church of Christ in Sudan were taken from their churches and thrown into jail. Last month, the Rev. Abdulraheem Kodi and the Rev. Kuwa Shamal Abu Zumam were charged with numerous offenses, including waging war against the state, espionage and undermining Sudan’s constitutional system.
Kodi and Zumam hail from the Nuba Mountains, a region that continues to be bombed and brazenly targeted by Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, in what human rights and Christian groups say is an effort to rid the country of the Nuba people — indigenous groups who do not fit the regime’s vision of an Islamic nation and are accused of supporting anti-government rebels.
According to FoxNews.com report, Bishop of Kadugli Diocese, Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail – who is now based in South Carolina after fleeing Sudan in 2011 after government forces allegedly burned down his property when he refused to use his extensive church leadership outreach to endorse the President
Two other men, Czech pastor Petr Jasek and Darfuri human rights activist Abduelmoneim Abdulmwlla, have also been detained. They, too, are accused of conspiring against the state, provoking hatred against or among sects and spreading false information.
Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services have accused the pastors of exposing state secrets. But their defenders say the claims against them have been concocted, and that they are being persecuted by al-Bashir and the Sudanese government. They are appealing desperately to the international community to intervene.
|Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir|
Rev. Andudu Adam Elnail, bishop of Kadugli Diocese said We call for their protection and immediate release and urge that the U.N., U.S. government – including Congress – and other world communities demand the freedom of these two men of God and other prisoners,”
Elnail lament,“The government is not interested in the Christian religion. There is no freedom for us, we cannot build churches, we are treated as second-class citizens.
“We need the international community to pressure the government of Sudan to give us our freedom of religion.”
“The pastors are accused of sharing evidence of the government burning down churches in Khartoum and bombing churches in the Nuba Mountains,” said Philip Tutu, a native of the Nuba Mountains, who now resides in the U.S and advocates for the rights of the Nuba people.
“Members of Sudan’s minority Christian community have been arrested, their religious buildings attacked, churches and educational institutions closed and their religious literature confiscated,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J, chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Amnesty International issued a joint letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council this month condemning the lack of freedom of religion in Sudan and calling on the government to release all individuals who have been arbitrarily detained. The independent Sudanese Human Rights and Development Organization has appealed to Pope Francis to exert his influence on Khartoum to help the jailed church leaders.