Rev. Kuwa Shamal, head of Missions in the Sudan Church of Christ (SCOC), was detained on Dec. 18, 2015. He is currently on trial in Khartoum, Sudan, along with three other men. All four face at least seven charges, some of which carry the potential death penalty or life imprisonment.
Rev. Shamal, Rev. Hassan Abduraheem, Czech aid worker Petr Jasek and another Sudanese man each face six criminal charges under Sudanís Criminal Code: conspiring against the state, espionage against the country, entering and photographing military areas and works, calling for opposition to public authority by use of violence, provoking hatred against or amongst sects, and publishing false news. In addition, they also face charges of immigrating in illegal ways and conducting voluntary jobs without permission from the authorities under Sudanís immigration and passport laws.
In November 2015, Rev. Shamal, Rev. Abduraheem and Mr. Jasek attended a conference for Christian leaders where Rev. Abduraheem was a presenter. While speaking on his work as a church leader in Sudan, Rev. Abduraheem showed a picture of a young man from Darfur who had been badly injured during a demonstration. Mr. Jasek later met with the injured man in Khartoum and donated money toward the manís medical treatment. As Mr. Jasek left Sudan, he was searched by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), who discovered a receipt for the donation to the injured man. They then confiscated his personal belongings, including his mobile phone, laptop and camera.
Nine days after arresting Mr. Jasek, NISS officers arrested Rev. Shamal and Rev. Abduraheem, who had signed the receipt. Charges were officially filed in August 2016. At least three court dates have been delayed because a translator failed to appear in court.
Rev. Shamal was not involved in fundraising efforts for the injured man, but the NISS appear to have targeted him due to his senior position in the church, his relationship with Rev. Abduraheem, who is also a senior member of the SCOC, and his ethnicity. He is originally from the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. The NISS claims that the donation by Mr. Jasek was actually financial support for rebel movements in the South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur regions of Sudan.
Rev. Shamal was suffering from malaria and received treatment after leaders paid for his medical expenses. He was conditionally released until May 2016, when he was re-arrested and held in the Attorney Generalís custody. Rev. Abduraheem and Mr. Jasek were also transferred to the Attorney Generalís custody in May 2016.
Please pray for Rev. Shamalís health and that all of these men will receive a just verdict and immediate release so they can be reunited with their families. Click on WRITE LETTER above to write a letter of encouragement to Rev. Shamal. Mail your letter in care of the Sudan Embassy in Washington, D.C., to let Sudanís government know that Christians around the world are aware of his case and are concerned for these four falsely accused men.