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Trial of detained Christian pastors resume in the Sudanese capital

August 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Trial of Christian pastors resumed on Monday in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum amid remarkable presence from western diplomats and rights groups.

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South Sudanese worshippers attend Sunday prayers in Baraka parish church in Haj Yusif on the outskirts of Khartoum on 10 February 2013 (Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

Last week 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.

Some of those charges are punishable by death.

During the court session, the prosecutor displayed several photos and videos seized from the Czech missionary filmmaker showing sites from the war-affected areas in South Kordofan, saying the latter handed over these photos to a foreign organization by the name of BBF.

He added that the photos show a team from the BBF looking at a map of the Nuba Mountain and planning to go to areas claimed to be destroyed by the Sudanese army, pointing they were intending to interview civilians who they say tortured by the Sudanese authorities.

The prosecutor also presented pictures in which the accused appear with members of the BBF and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/North besides photos of destroyed buildings that were claimed to be bombarded by government warplanes.

The judge, Osama Ahmed Abdallah, pointed the photos underscored that the accused was present alongside the BBF team in the Nuba Mountains in 2012.

On Saturday, the SPLM-N) called on the United States Special Envoy Donald Booth who is visiting the country nowadays to help to secure the release of detained pastors and activists in Sudan.

Last August, 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)