Case Against Sudanese Pastors Reopened Amidst Hopes For Democracy, Freedom of Religion

Monday, August 12, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - In a discouraging sign, 9 Sudanese pastors originally indicted under Islamist dictator Omar al-Bashir have been brought up on charges again.

7 of the 9 pastors were jailed briefly in Omdurman near Khartoum, the capital, in 2017 after the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments demanded they hand the keys of their church over to a Ministry-appointed committee.

“Police asked if we still maintain our stance on our refusal to acknowledge the committee...and we said yes, because it is not the work of the [government] ministry to appoint committees for the church,” Pastor Kuwa Shamaal, one of the targeted pastors and head of missions for the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), told Morning Star News in 2017.

Moderating hopes that the Transitional Military Council which stepped in after the ouster of the Islamist Bashir in early April would ease the burden on Christians, the case against the pastors was reopened after being dismissed in August of last year, prompted by new false evidence from the same Ministry that the pastors were not the actual leaders of their church.

According to International Christian Concern, the new development in the case is typical of the administrative harassment the men had suffered at the hands of Bashir's Islamist regime for years.

Sudanese Christians expressed high hopes in early April after the ouster of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir ignited weeks of pro-democracy protests, with leaders of the Muslim Sudanese Professionals Association even encouraging Christians to join them in calling on the Transitional Military Council to form a democratic government with freedom of religion.