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Sudanese security service files new charges against Czech journalist and pastors

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police stands outside the courthouse in Khartoum 2007
December 19, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese security service filled new charges against a Czech journalist and two Christian pastors who have been detained for five months as the trial has resumed in Khartoum on Monday.

Last August a Sudanese court began the trial of two Sudanese Christian pastors, a Czech missionary filmmaker and a human rights activist. The four are accused of conducting intelligence activities and providing material support for the rebels in South Kordofan.

Charges were filed against the defendants under articles of the Criminal Code and article (29) of the Passports and Immigration Law on sneaking into the country illegally besides article (23) of the Humanitarian and Voluntary Work Act pertaining to running a voluntary organization without registration.

They were charged with espionage, waging war against the state and inciting hatred against religious congregations. Some of those charges are punishable by death.

During the court session, the fourth prosecution witness, Sayed Abdel-Rahman, an open sources monitoring officer from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), said they detected radio broadcasting on the web and YouTube videos by two hostile foreign groups, pointing the Czech journalist is a member of one of these groups.

He added that a report on one of the YouTube videos mentioned that some persons who converted to Christianity from Islam have been killed by the Sudanese government.

On Monday, the two Christian pastors didn’t attend the trial upon permission from Judge Osama Ahmed Abdalla to see the doctor after they felt onerous fatigue.

Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in its 2016 report.

In 2014, Sudanese woman, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity from Islam. However, she was released and allowed to leave the country following huge pressures from western nations and the Vatican.

In August 2015, a Sudanese court acquitted two South Sudanese pastors who were charged with espionage and inciting tribal sentiments and ordered their immediate release after they spent seven month in detention.

(ST)

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