Petr Jasek, one of the Christians who received lengthy prison sentences in Sudan on 29th January, has been given a presidential pardon and left Sudan on 26th February.
The court had sentenced Mr Jasek to life in prison for espionage, to six months in prison for spreading rumours undermining the authority of the state, to a fine of 100,000 Sudanese Pounds (approximately US$16,000) for undertaking NGO work without a permit, and to one year in prison for each of the following charges (sentences to be served consecutively): inciting strife between communities; entry into and taking photos of military areas and equipment; and illegal entry into Sudan.
Jasek is a Czech national and 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.
Former US Congressman Mark Siljander (who has good connections in Sudan) also visited Khartoum in recent days and petitioned the authorities for the release of Jasek and his two co-defendants.
The co-defendants, Rev. Hassan Abduraheem Kodi Taour and Mr Abdulmonem Abdumawla, were each sentenced to ten years for abetting Jasek in the crime of espionage, and one year each for inciting strife between communities and spreading rumours undermining the authority of the state (even though the legal maximum penalty for this last crime is six months in prison). All of these sentences are to be served consecutively. Their lawyers have appealed against the sentences.
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Christians in Sudan rejoice in the release of Petr Jasek. They request prayer:
a. that the two Christians still in prison will know the Lord’s strength and comfort during their ordeal
b. for wisdom for their lawyers
c. for a fair appeal process, and that the two men will be acquitted soon
d. that Petr Jasek and his family will know the Lord’s restoration, peace and joy as they adapt to his new freedom
e. for an end to the increasing pressure against churches and other religious minorities in Sudan, and that Christians will know the peace of the Lord
f. that all officials involved will be touched by God’s love and will change their ways