by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Four Christian men in Sudan’s Darfur face the death penalty after being tortured and charged with apostasy for refusing to renounce their faith, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported.
Conditions for Christians in Sudan have deteriorated again since last year’s Islamic military coup overthrew the civilian-led transitional government which had replaced ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
According to CSW, church leaders Badar Haroun Abdul-Jabbar, Mohamed Haroun Abdul-Jabbar, Tariq Aref Abdallah, and Mortada Ismael Yousef were arrested on 24 June in Zalingei.
The men had founded a church that had been given permission to operate the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments of the transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and which had not faced persecution until now, CSW said.
Detained by police until 28 June the men were transferred to the main prison of Zalingei and appeared before a prosecutor on July 3, CSW said. The prosecutor asked them to renounce their faith, but they refused. They were then released on bail pending trial – and were told they may face the death penalty.
In a statement about the case, CSW Founder President Mervyn Thomas noted that PM Hamdok had first abolished the death penalty for “apostasy” from Islam and had then removed the crime of apostasy from the statute books altogether.
“It is unclear on what legal grounds these charges have been logged; however, it is indicative of the regressive steps taken on freedom of religion or belief, and emblematic of the worsening situation of human rights in Sudan in the aftermath of the coup,” Thomas said.
“We call for an immediate review of this case and the dropping of all charges against the men.”
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