Home | News    Wednesday 11 February 2015

Fears for S. Sudan pastors held in secret detention after arrest in Khartoum

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February 11, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – There are growing calls for Sudanese authorities to disclose the whereabouts of two church leaders who were arrested by the country’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum last December and January.

Amnesty International says both Reverend Yat Michael and Reverend Peter Yen – of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church – are being detained incommunicado in an unknown location.

Neither men have had access to their families or lawyers since their arrest and have yet to be charged with any offence.

Amnesty International has expressed serious concerns for their wellbeing in detention.

“The longer these two men are held in a secret location, the greater the risk of them being tortured,” Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

“To date, absolutely no charge has been brought against these two church leaders. The authorities in Sudan must make reveal the location of these two men as soon as possible, and either charge them with a recognisable criminal offence or release them immediately,” she added.

Revd. Michael, a visiting pastor from South Sudan, was taken into custody on 21 December after giving a service at the Khartoum North Church of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church.

He was approached by several men who identified themselves as NISS agents and demanded that the reverend come with them.

The following day, the security forces went to Revd. Michael’s home where they took some of his clothes and personal belongings and informed his wife that he was being held in relation to an ongoing investigation.

Amnesty says no further details about the investigation, whether the reverend was under arrest or what the charges were related to were provided.

Revd. Yen was also visiting Khartoum when he was arrested on 11 January after responding to a summons to report to an office of the security services.

Amnesty said it appeared that his arrest and detention was linked to a letter he delivered to the religious affairs office in Khartoum inquiring about Revd. Michael’s arrest.

The families of both pastors have had no further contact with the men since they were taken into custody and repeated attempts to find out where they are being held have been unsuccessful.

(ST)

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