One of the two pastors detained by Sudanese authorities in December, has been released.
The Rev. Kwa Shamaal, head of missions for Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) and Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim, SCOC vice moderator were arrested on December 18. Rev. Shamaal was released on December 21 but according to sources, he was obligated to visit the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) where he was held from 8:00 am to 12:00 am. The obligation has been recently removed.
Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor, still remains in the custody without any charges.
NISS officials were said to have been upset with the pastors for telling others that Christians faced persecution in Sudan. Authorities had arrested the two pastors from their respective homes at the same hour. No charges have been brought against them, although NISS officials were said to have objected to their Christian activities.
Both the pastors belong to the Nuba Mountain region of South Kordofan state where President Omer-al-Bashar has strictly enforced sharia and recognizes only the Islamic culture. Christians, along with native Nuba face discrimination in the region.
Rev. Shamaal’s church building was demolished in Hai Thiba Al Hamyida area of Khartoum North on June 29-30, 2014. The government claimed that the church building was situated on the government land, a claim that the church leaders deny.
Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in its 2015 report.
Sudan ranked eighth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2016 World Watch List of countries where Christians face most persecution.