February 26, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Sunday has pardoned Czech missionary and filmmaker, Petr Jasek, who was sentenced to life in prison last January for spying against the Sudan.
Reacting to this amnesty, the SPLM-N has called to release the Sudanese pastors detained with him, saying their trial was part of Khartoum oppressive policy against Christians.
In December 2015, Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested Jasek four days after he entered Sudan carrying two bags containing a laptop, mobile phone, video camera besides other documents. He was charged with espionage, waging war against the state and inciting hatred against religious congregations,
On 29 January, a Sudanese court sentenced Jasek to life imprisonment for spying against the Sudan and disseminating reports - via an "American organisation hostile to Sudan" - including alleged persecution of Christians in the country, and the bombardment of civilian populated areas in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan State.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek has arrived in Khartoum on Sunday for talks on bilateral relations.
In a joint press conference with Zaoralek, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said President al-Bashir has released Jasek “in appreciation for the historic relations between Sudan and the Czech republic”.
“Al-Bashir has taken into account the bilateral ties between the two nations, and the Czech Foreign Minister would receive the Czech citizen and he will leave for his country today,” said Ghanodur
He wished that the visit of the Czech top diplomat would be “a start of a distinct relation between the two countries”.
For his part, Zaoralek expressed his delight, saying “I’m pleased to witness the end of the unpleasant case of the Chezh citizen”.
“My visit to Sudan is a beginning of a new page in relations between the two countries,” he said
“During my talks with all Sudanese officials I underscored my country’s desire to promote relations with Sudan in all fields,” he added.
It is noteworthy that the Czech minister has conveyed to Sudan’s First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Salih a message of thanks from the Czech government for the release of Jasek.
SPLM-N DEMANDS RELEASE OF TWO PASTORS
Meanwhile, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) Secretary General Yasser Arman described the release of the Czech missionary as “correcting the regime’s mistakes”.
However, he wondered why the government didn’t release the two Sudanese pastors who were sentenced with the Czech missionary.
“The SPLM-N calls for the immediate release of the pastors and [demands the government] to show respect for the citizenship rights of the Sudanese Christians,” he said.
Arman further called for the release of all political and rights activists and on top of them the university professor Mudawi Ibrahim, saying the trial of the pastors and Czech missionary is part of a campaign that aims to intimidate Sudanese Christians and strip of their citizenship rights.
He pointed that the government has demolished more than 20 Churches.
The court has also sentenced Pastor Hassan Abdel-Rahim and geologist Abdel-Moni’m Abdel-Mawla for 12 years for colluding with the Czech missionary.