We had reported several months ago how three Christians were arrested and facing the death penalty for spreading the Gospel in Sudan. One man was jailed for life but was later released and deported, and two others were given 12-year prison sentences.
In a miraculous turn, the other two Christians still in prison were just released after a direct pardon from the President of Sudan:
A pastor and another Christian serving a 12-year sentence in Sudan were freed today after they were granted a presidential pardon, sources said.
+The Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor had been in prison since his arrest in December 2015, as was Abdulmonem Abdumawla of Darfur. They were convicted on baseless charges of assisting Czech aid worker Petr Jasek – pardoned and released on Feb. 25 – in alleged espionage, causing hatred among communities and spreading false information, according to their attorney.
“We thank God for his release, that is all I can really say for now,” the pastor’s wife told Morning Star News.
Christians gathered at Abdelrahim Tawor’s home today to thank God for answering their prayers.
“Thank God for all who really carried a campaign for the release of our two brothers,” another relative said.
The two Christians had received 10-year sentences for the espionage-related charges, and two years of prison for “inciting hatred between sects” and “propagation of false news.” The sentences were to be served consecutively.
Advocacy group Middle East Concern released a statement saying Christians in Sudan rejoice at their release and requested prayer for “an end to the increasing pressure against churches and other religious minorities in Sudan, and that they will know the peace of the Lord,” and “that all officials involved will be touched by God’s love and will change their ways.”
Pastor Abdelrahim Tawor, along with other pastors, was arrested after attending a missions conference in Addis Abba, Ethiopia in October 2015. Upset by the conference, officials with Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) interrogated him about accusations that those in attendance spoke of Sudan’s government persecuting Christians, a claim church leaders deny.
Serving with the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), Pastor Abdelrahim Tawor was arrested from his home on Dec. 18, 2015, as was the Rev. Kwa (also transliterated Kuwa) Shamaal, head of Missions of the SCOC. Pastor Shamaal was acquitted on Jan. 2 of charges ranging from spying to inciting hatred against the government.
Pastors Shamaal and Abdelrahim Tawor were charged with trying to tarnish the image of Sudan’s government by collecting information on persecution of Christians and genocide in the Nuba Mountains. The charges included collecting information for “other parties hostile to Sudan.” They were accused of conducting intelligence activities and providing material support for Nuba rebels in South Kordofan under two charges that carry the death penalty – waging war against the state (Article 51 of the Sudanese Criminal Code) and spying (Article 53). (source)