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Filmmaker Arrested in Sudan for Film on Christian Persecution

Southern Sudan for the USHMM
25 Sept. 2010, Rumbek, Southern Sudan
A religious procession winds down the main road in Rumbek on Sunday.

Czech Petr Jasek, 52, has been in a Sudanese prison since December for making a video to show the persecution of Christians in the Islamic country, Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes, adding that Czech diplomacy’s effort to have him released has failed so far.

Jasek’s trial might start in March. He may face a tough sentence in Sudan, whose legislation includes the elements of Sharia, the traditional Islamic law, the paper writes.

A key piece of evidence against Jasek is a video he made in Sudan. On the video, a man with burn wounds describes how he sustained them.

According to Jasek, the man was wounded during violent attacks on Christians by Muslims, MfD writes.

However, the man in the video has denied his testimony in the meantime.

He said the Czech torn his words out of context and that he sustained the wounds in a car accident, the daily writes.

Jasek has also been accused of illegal crossing the state border, it says.

Jasek seems to really have come to Sudan to help local Christians, judging by the fact that his journey was financed by the Voice of Martyrs, a U.S. organisation whose branch, named Civic Movement Help to the Persecuted Religion, is seated in the Czech Republic.

Czech diplomats who unsuccessfully tried to negotiate Jasek’s release are uncertain as for the sentence he may face.

The Czech Foreign Ministry would not comment on the case for fear it could disturb the trial in Khartoum, MfD writes.

“I can only say we have been dealing with a consular case in Sudan,” the ministry’s spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova is quoted as saying.

Last July, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) reported that Pastor Michael and Pastor Pete, two Sudanese Christians, faced the death penalty because they allegedly committed numerous offenses. Authorities released the two men a month later after international outcry.

Christian persecution in Sudan made international headlines in 2014, when a court sentenced Mariam Ibrahim for apostasy, the crime of renouncing the Muslim faith, which may result in the death penalty.

Courts accused her of adultery because they did not recognize her marriage to Daniel Wadi, a Christian American. Authorities considered her a Muslim because her father practiced Islam, but she told them she has always embraced Christianity. She gave birth to their daughter Maya while in prison, reportedly with her ankles in chains.

They eventually freed her, but rearrested her on charges of falsified documents. The accusations were eventually dropped, and she fled to Italy. Pope Francis blessed her on July 24, before the family flew to America. Ibrahim and Wadi arrived in New Hampshire on July 31.