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su jasek2 vomusOn January 29th, Czech Christian Petr Jašek was sentenced to life in prison after a court convicted him of "spying." Sudan officials took notice when he provided assistance to a student from Darfur who had been badly injured at a rally. His co-defendants -- Sudanese nationals Rev. Hassan Abduraheem Kodi Taour and Abdulmonem Abdumawla -- were each sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison, mainly for helping Petr. All three believers, who were initially detained back in December of 2015, plan to appeal immediately.

During the trial, Petr was accused of taking video footage of military installations and entering Sudan without a visa. He was also fined 100,000 Sudanese pounds (about $20,000 CAD) for doing mission aid work without a permit. In addition to Petr's severe sentencing, the three men were convicted of "spreading rumours that undermine the authority of the state" and inciting hatred. Previous reports on this case are available here.

The court ruling has shocked many. The legal maximum penalty for "spreading rumours to undermine the authority of the state" is six months, yet the judge in Khartoum has doubled this sentence. The prosecution claimed the video was clear evidence that Petr and the two others were guilty of tarnishing the image of Sudan by gathering information on persecution of Christians and genocide. However, it was previously acknowledged through global news sources and governmental agencies that the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

The persecution of Christians in Sudan is a valid concern -- not only in matters involving individual believers -- but additionally for the many churches in Khartoum currently under the threat of demolition. In separate cases, a Khartoum judge has ruled that the four churches presently facing demolition orders should be represented by a lawyer appointed by the Sudanese authorities, not by the churches. Such inadequate legal representation poses further mutually shared concerns for members of the 21 other churches also facing the threat of demolition.

May God's unfailing presence -- and the resulting "peace that surpasses all understanding" -- be experienced in wonderful ways by Petr, Hassan and Abdulmonem, as well as their concerned families. Intercede for the legal team representing the three accused believers, asking that they be granted wisdom and insight from on high so the appeal will be presented swiftly and result in a favourable outcome. Pray that the light and love of our Lord Jesus will continue to shine in Sudan, touching the hearts of many -- including the country's governing officials -- so the ministry of these individuals and the many threatened churches can continue their God-ordained mandate to proclaim the "Good News" of the Gospel.