Sudanese Judge Finds Sufficient Evidence to Convict Christian Pastors; Attorney Under Pressure to Prove Their Innocence or They Will Face the Death Penalty

Yat Michael and Peter Yen Reith CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE
Yat Michael and Peter Yen Reith
CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE

Unfortunately, the news coming out of Sudan is not what we would have hoped.

After a full day of trial today, in which the judge questioned both Pastor Michael and Pastor Peter, the judge concluded there was sufficient evidence to “charge” both pastors with the offenses alleged against them.  Under Sudanese criminal procedure, the charge is not a conviction; rather it comes with a presumption that the defense must now counter by presenting evidence of the men’s innocence.  The full set of charges and possible sentences based on Sudan’s criminal code are below.

  • Article 21: Joint acts in execution of a criminal conspiracy;
  • Article 50: Undermining the constitutional system (Penalty: death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment and confiscation of property);
  • Article 53: Espionage (Penalty: death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment and confiscation of property);
  • Article 55: Disclosure and obtaining information and official documents (Penalty: 2 years imprisonment or a fine);
  • Article 64: Promoting hatred amongst or against sects (Penalty: 2 years imprisonment);
  • Article 69: Disturbance of the public peace (Penalty: 6 months imprisonment; or fine or no more than 20 lashes);
  • Article 125: Blasphemy/insulting religious creeds (Penalty: 1 year imprisonment; or a fine or no more than 40 lashes).

During the trial, the judge question both men about documents found on their computer after their arrests.  This evidence includes internal church reports, maps that show the population and topography of Khartoum, Christian literature, and a study guide on the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).  All of these materials, with the exception of the internal church report and the study guide on NISS are publicly accessible materials.

The pastors acknowledged having the internal church report, though both reported to the judge that they had never seen the study guide on NISS before it was presented in court and had no knowledge of how it got on the computer.   Besides these documents, the only evidence brought by the prosecution against the Christian pastors was a sermon Pastor Michael gave, a sermon that was supported by Christian doctrine shared by their common denomination.

Serious charges, like those brought here, require serious evidence.  Yet, the court has found the evidence sufficient and called for the defense to put on its case on July 14th.   After the defense is presented, the Court will have a final opportunity to review all the evidence presented and drop the charges or convict the Pastors.

 

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: ACLJ
Tiffany Barrans

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