Christian pastors face death penalty if convicted in Sudan
Last December, 2 evangelical pastors from the Church of Christ in Sudan were
taken from their churches and thrown into jail. Last month, the Rev.
Abdulraheem Kodi and the Rev. Kuwa Shamal Abu Zumam were charged with numerous
offenses, including waging war against the state, espionage and undermining
Sudan's constitutional system.
Their trial has begun. They could get the death penalty if they're found
2 other men, Czech pastor Petr Jasek and Darfuri human rights activist
Abduelmoneim Abdulmwlla, have also been detained. They, too, are accused of
conspiring against the state, provoking hatred against or among sects and
spreading false information.
Kodi and Zumam hail from the Nuba Mountains, a region that continues to be
bombed and brazenly targeted by Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, in what
human rights and Christian groups say is an effort to rid the country of the
Nuba people - indigenous groups who do not fit the regime's vision of an
Islamic nation and are accused of supporting anti-government rebels.
According to Elnail, FoxNews.com that the pastors were arrested not only to
silence but to intimidate Sudan's Christian minority, which stands at around
1.5 %, as the Khartoum government increasingly pushes to enforce full-scale
Shariah law in the country. Al-Bashir, the 1st sitting head of state to be
indicted by the International Criminal Court - there is an outstanding warrant
for his arrest in connection to war crimes in Darfur - took power in a 1989
coup and has long taken a stance of "1 language (Arabic), 1 religion (Islam)."
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has imposed strict Islamic rule on his
Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services have accused the pastors of
exposing state secrets. But their defenders say the claims against them have
been concocted, and that they are being persecuted by al-Bashir and the
Sudanese government. They are appealing desperately to the international
community to intervene.
"We call for their protection and immediate release and urge that the U.N.,
U.S. government - including Congress - and other world communities demand the
freedom of these 2 men of God and other prisoners," said the Rev. Andudu Adam
Elnail, bishop of Kadugli Diocese.
Elnail fled from Sudan five years ago after he refused to endorse al-Bashir and
government forces allegedly burned down his property. Now based in South
Carolina, he said Kodi and Zumam are in solitary confinement and are not
allowed visits or phone calls with family members. He described Zumam whom he
has known for many years, as a "humble and good man" in his mid-40s, a father
of 7 who has dedicated his life to family and faith.
"The government is not interested in the Christian religion. There is no
freedom for us, we cannot build churches, we are treated as 2nd-class
citizens," Elnail lamented. "We need the international community to pressure
the government of Sudan to give us our freedom of religion."
"The pastors are accused of sharing evidence of the government burning down
churches in Khartoum and bombing churches in the Nuba Mountains," said Philip
Tutu, a native of the Nuba Mountains, who now resides in the U.S and advocates
for the rights of the Nuba people.
"The government says its security policy is to keep this information
confidential to avoid pressure from the international community.
"Clearly, the pastors are unfairly targeted. The hearings are postponed
repeatedly. A lot of people are showing up for the hearings and not everyone is
able to attend, including some attorneys for the pastors."
The attorneys, who asked not to be identified, fearing government retaliation,
stressed that more action is needed to support the pastors and to protect
Christians in the Nuba Mountains, where they are deemed to be "atheists."
A spokesperson from the U.S State Department said senior officials at the U.S
Embassy in Khartoum have been tracking this case since the pastors were
arrested and have repeatedly raised concerns about the matter.
"We are committed to working with countries to make tangible improvements in
respect for religious freedom and continue to look for opportunities to address
these issues with the government of South Sudan," the spokesperson said.
Christian persecution is nothing new in war-torn Sudan, where churches are
routinely razed and church leaders are targeted and taunted. And though Sudan
has been designated a "Country of Particular Concern" by the U.S. State
Department since 1999, the situation has worsened.
"Members of Sudan's minority Christian community have been arrested, their
religious buildings attacked, churches and educational institutions closed and
their religious literature confiscated," said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J,
chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
"The government will no longer issue permits for the building of new churches.
Government policies and societal pressure promote conversion to Islam.
Christians are pressured to deny their faith or convert to gain employment."
Kiri Kankhwende, of the U.K-based advocacy group Christian Solidarity
Worldwide, said the situation for Christians in Sudan has particularly
deteriorated since the secession in 2011 of South Sudan, which was championed
as a foreign policy success story by the Obama administration but has since
descended into civil war.
"Since then, the government has called for a 100 % Islamic nation with a
constitution based wholly on Shariah law," Kankhwende told FoxNews.com. "The
restrictions placed on Christians over the last 5 years indicate that the
government is moving toward this goal." Open Doors USA, a Christian human
rights organization, has called the persecution of Christians in Sudan akin to
"ethnic cleansing" and stressed that the "right kind of attention" in the case
of the Sudanese priests is vital.
"The more influential voices that can be heard on this issue, the more likely
the government of Sudan is to at least consider objections to this miscarriage
of justice," said Open Doors president and CEO David Curry.
The Embassy of the Republic of Sudan in Washington, D.C., could not be reached
for comment. The pastors' trial is set to resume Wednesday.
(source: Fox News)
Help Stop Extrajudicial Executions (Philippines: UA 186/16
September 20, 2016
Approximately 3000 people have been killed by police and unknown vigilantes in
the Philippines since President Duterte came into power on 30 June. Many may
amount to extrajudicial executions. The President has vowed that the killings
Latest figures as of 20 September show that at least 3000 people have been
killed in a wave of state-sanctioned violence since President Duterte came into
power on 30 June. In a speech on 6 September, the President issued his latest
promise that his crackdown on those accused of using or selling drugs would
continue, acknowledging that 'plenty (more) will be killed'. On 16 September,
President Duterte announced he was extending his campaign for 6 more months.
The wave of killing across the Philippines has resulted in increased
lawlessness and 'punishment' being meted out in the absence of any legal
authority or fair legal procedures. The unlawful killing has not just affected
alleged drug users and dealers, but also many bystanders, including children as
young as 5.
Under international law, the Philippines has a legal obligation to respect and
protect the right to life at all times. International law and standards
narrowly restrict the use of force by police to situations where it is
absolutely necessary and used proportionately. Police must apply non-violent
means before resorting to the use of force, and carry out their duties in a way
that ensures full respect for human rights, among them the right to life,
liberty and security of all persons, including those suspected of crime.
Incitement to violence and discrimination is prohibited under international law
and risks escalating violence in the country. The unlawful and deliberate
killing carried out by order of officials or with the state's complicity or
acquiescence is an extrajudicial execution and is a crime under international
law. The Philippines has an obligation to investigate and prosecute credible
allegations of extrajudicial executions and any other unlawful killings and
bring those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials.
1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
-- Urging the President to condemn extrajudicial executions and other unlawful
killings and call on law enforcement officials to abide strictly by
international law and standards on the use of force;
-- Urging the authorities to ensure prompt, independent and impartial
investigations into all reports of use of lethal force by the police,
extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings and ensure those
responsible are brought to justice through a fair trial process;
-- Urging them to ensure that police activities are subject to independent
oversight by setting up an independent police oversight body, protection of
witnesses and enhanced transparency and accountability mechanisms.
Contact these 2 officials by 1 November, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte
1000 Jose P Laurel Sr,
San Miguel, Manila,
Salutation: Your Excellency
Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
Fax: 1 202 467 9417 -- Phone: 1 202 467 9300 -- Email:
informat...@philippineembassy-usa.org Salutation: Dear Ambassador
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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