Two Christian pastors face execution in Sudan
UPDATE 5 August 2015: Victory! The pastors have been freed from prison following their final hearing. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that Michael was convicted of inciting hatred and Reith of breaching public peace, but both were released on time already served. Following the judgement, Michael said: "I am feeling free because I was in jail for many months. I have become like I'm born again." Now they are free to return home. We did it! (AFP report here)
UPDATE 25 July 2015: The two Sudanese pastors, Michael and Reith, who have been facing execution simply because of their Christian beliefs, have presented a robust defense, and are now awaiting the judge's ruling. One of the defense lawyers, Thabith Al Zubir, said that the defense team had refuted all the accusations leveled against their clients (the pastors), and said that the government's charges were, "built on sand." Therefore, we must continue to pray for a good outcome, and another petition may be in order.
UPDATE 19 June 15: Pastors Michael and Reith have been moved to a high security prison and have not been allowed any visitors. There was a hearing on the 15th, in which the government only brought one witness, who provided no new evidence against the Pastors. Yesterday, the government brought forward three more witnesses, non of whom provided any evidence against the pastors, only accusations. The trial so far has underscored that these are trumped up charges, with no basis in fact. These pastors are simply being threatened and punished for their Christian convictions!
Two Christian pastors have been arrested for preaching in Sudan. Now, they face the death penalty for professing their Christian faith.
Pastors Yat Michael and Peter Yein Reith were arrested in December 2014 after Michael and his family returned to Khartoum to seek medical attention. While in the city, Pastor Michael delivered a sermon at the local Presbyterian Evangelical Church, which had been nearly destroyed by authorities earlier that month. Immediately after his sermon, he was arrested on trumped up charges of sedition and spying.
Pastor Reith spoke out against the unjust arrest of Pastor Michael, and was soon arrested himself. Their trial is scheduled for June 15.
The South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (the church in which Michael and Reith are ordained) told media outlets that: "This is not 'something new' for our church. Almost all pastors have gone to jail under the government of Sudan. We have been stoned and beaten. This is their habit to pull down the church. We are not surprised. This is the way they deal with the church."
Michael is married with two children, a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, and Reith is married and has a 1-year-old daughter. Reith is in charge of an orphanage in South Sudan.
Pastor Reith has asked us to pray that his suffering will "be for the glory of God" in the prison.
We can put pressure on the Sudanese government to release these men, and for the United Nations to take action. When Meriam Ibrahim was likewise sentenced to death for her Christian faith by the government in Sudan, it was international pressure (including our CitizenGO petition!) that helped set her free. It was a great victory! Now we must do the same thing again...
When you sign this petition, we will send an e-mail message to Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner and the President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir with the petition text.