They are accused of seven crimes, two of which carry the death penalty.The ruling is not a conviction, but means the defence must present evidence of the men’s innocence, which will take place on 14 July.
This leaves their lawyer, Mr Muhaned Mustafa, with less than two weeks to prepare their case. He will have only ten to fifteen minutes prior to this hearing to prepare his clients.
At the end of those proceedings, the court will have the final opportunity to review all the evidence presented and drop the charges or convict the pastors.
During Wednesday’s hearing the judge questioned both men about documents found on their computer after their arrests, which included internal church reports, maps that show the population and topography of Khartoum, Christian literature, and a study guide on the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
Denying the pastors’ access to their lawyer to prepare their case is a violation of rights guaranteed both under Sudanese law and international law. The attorney will appeal the matter to the prison authorities on Sunday 5 July.