The trial judge in the case of Reverend Hassan Abduraheem, Mr Petr Jašek and Mr Abdumonem Abdumawla has found them guilty of a number of charges, including espionage, a national security crime.
29 January, Judge Osama Ahmed Abdulla found Czech national Mr Jašek guilty of
espionage and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Reverend Abduraheem and Mr
Abdumawla were found guilty of espionage and abatement and sentenced to ten
Jašek also received a three and a half years imprisonment and was fined 100,000 Sudanese Pounds (approximately $15,000 US Dollars) for entering and photographing military
areas; inciting hatred between sects ; propagation of false news; entering
the country illegally; and violating Articles 8 and 23 of Sudan's Volunteer Act.
In addition to the 10 year sentences for abatement and espionage, Reverend Abduraheem and Mr Abdumawla were sentenced to two years imprisonment for inciting hatred between sects and for propagation of false news. The judge directed that the sentences were to be served consecutively.
representing the men intend to appeal the verdict and sentences. In the
meantime, the men remain in Al-Huda prison in Omdurman.
case further illustrates the politicization of the criminal justice system by
the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) which, under the pretext
of investigating national security crimes, has brought charges against members
of the political opposition, human rights defenders and leaders of minority
religions, as occurred in the case of Reverends Yat Michel and Peter Reith in
verdict comes weeks after the outgoing Obama administration confirmed the lifting
of some US financial sanctions imposed on Sudan since 1997. The controversial
decision was made in recognition of perceived improvements in Darfur and the
two conflict areas, including in humanitarian access.
case against the three men centres on the provision of $5000 for the medical
treatment of Mr Ali Omer, a Darfuri student who was severely injured during a
student demonstration in 2013. The prosecution alleged the $5,000 donated by Mr
Jašek for Mr Omer’s treatment was in reality support for rebel movements in the
South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur regions. By framing the case in this
manner, NISS attempted to exploit the fact that Reverend Abduraheem and a former
co-defendant, Reverend Shamal, are from the Nuba Mountains in South
Kordofan, while Mr Abdumawla is from Darfur.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s Advocacy
Director Joel Edwards said: “We are profoundly dismayed by this verdict. The serious
charges against these men were wholly unwarranted, and the excessive sentences are
unjustified, given the paucity of evidence against them. Mr Jasek, Reverend Abduraheem and Mr Abdumawla
are not spies; they were simply driven by compassion to source finance for the
medical treatment of a man whose injuries are so severe that he requires ongoing
medical care. We call for the annulment of the verdict and the immediate
release of these three men. In addition we
urge the Sudanese authorities once again to undertake a review of the sweeping powers
exercised by the NISS, and to end the targeting of ethnic and religious