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Sudanese prosecutor explains charges against detained Czech journalist

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October 17, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - A Sudanese prosecutor Monday accused a Czech journalist and two Sudanese pastors of espionage and undermining the constitutional system, which all carry the death penalty.

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The Rev. Hassan Abdurahim Tawor. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide Photo)

Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested the Czech Petr Jasek four days after entering the country in December 2015 in his possession two suitcases, one carrying a laptop, a mobile and a camera while the other one contained his personal documents.

In the trial which resumed Monday, the prosecutor told the court that Jasek wrote reports in 2010 to condemn Sudan and tarnish its image. He stressed that the country has been suffering so far from these reports which negatively impacted Sudan’s political, economic and security situations.

Prosecutor Abdel-Rahman Sotal-Arab told the criminal court in Khartoum on Monday that they seized an audio report by a member of Protection of Persecuted Christians Organization for which the Czech journalist works. In these statements, he stated that the genocide and destruction, happening in the Nuba Mountains area of South Kordofan State, is part of a systematic work that has started since the beginning of “Salvation Revolution”, the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.

Also, he told the tribunal that Jasek and some members of the group went to the Nuba Mountains area and photographed civilians. After what they sent these pictures abroad with captures claiming they are facing persecution, torture and forced conversion to Islam by the Sudanese army. The statements further say that the army bombards their areas inflecting heavy losses to lives and properties, he stressed.

The prosecution pointed out that the Czech defendant admitted that their organization protects the persecutors who are subjected to the harassment of the security authorities. He added that the journalists and the two pastors attended a conference held in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa last year where one of the pastors displayed photos of a burned young man and claimed he had been burned by the Sudanese security to force him to convert to Islam and therefore the authorities refused to treat him.

The prosecutor continued to say that following Addis Ababa press conference, the Czech defendant decided to come to Sudan and paid a visit to the burned young’s home in Al-Haj Yousif neighbourhood, east Khartoum. At that visit the two pastors told the journalists that security agents used chemicals to burn the young man during a student protest. He underscored that the victim is a Sudanese Muslim from Darfur region.

He further said that the security authorities who were monitoring the foreign journalist stopped him at Khartoum International Airport and asked him give them his smartphone, laptop, a camera and two external memories.

The prosecutor added that he was apprehended when he refused to leave the country without his belongings in line with the National Security Act. He added the investigation resulted in discovery of photos and video footages in which appear the SPLM-N deputy leader Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu, civilians and photographs of military areas and trenches.

The trial of the four defendants started last August.

Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in its 2016 report.

Also last August, the SPLM-N, called on the United States Special Envoy Donald Booth to help to secure the release of detained pastors and activists in Sudan.

(ST)

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