Last month we profiled how three Christian missionaries in Sudan were sentenced to long prison terms for preaching the gospel to Muslims in Sudan. Two of them received 12 years each but the third, a Czech missionary named Petr Jasek, was sentenced to life in prison.
In a miraculous turn of events, Mr. Jasek’s conviction was just overturned by none other than the President of Sudan himself, Omar Al-Bashir, who has waged war against the Christians of now the Republic of South Sudan for decades. According to the report, Jasek will be released to the care of the Czech ambassador before returning to Europe:
Sudan released Czech aid worker Petr Jasek on Saturday (Feb. 25), nearly one month after a court in Khartoum sentenced him to life in prison for espionage and other charges, according to reports.
Jasek returned to the Czech Republic on Sunday with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralekj, who had arrived earlier to secure his release. Sudan President Omar al-Bashir reportedly ordered the court to release the aid worker based on Sudan’s Article 208, which gives the president powers to release anyone convicted of crimes that do not carry death penalty.
Christian leaders in Sudan confirmed the release of the Czech aid worker.
“Yes, he was released on Saturday,” a Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) leader said.
The Czech Foreign Ministry had reportedly stated that the Jan. 29 conviction and sentencing of Jasek was without basis, and that he was in Sudan only to help Christians.
“In early February the Czech and Sudanese governments agreed that the Czech foreign minister would visit Sudan on 26th February, and that Petr would then be released into his care and return to the Czech Republic with him,” according to Middle East Concern.
Along with the life sentence for espionage and waging war against the state, Jasek was also sentenced to six months in prison for spreading false rumors undermining the authority of the state (“spreading false news aimed at tarnishing the image of Sudan”) and a fine of 100,000 Sudanese pounds (US$16,000) for working for a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Sudan without a permit. He was also sentenced to one year in prison each for inciting strife between communities, entry in and photography of military areas and equipment and illegal entry into Sudan. (source)