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Sudan: Four Christians Arrested under Annulled Apostasy Law

Here at ChristianPersecution.com, we have covered many stories of police and governing officials persecuting Christians when they should be protecting them. This is yet another example of this phenomenon. During the regime of Omar Al Bashir, apostasy from Islam was illegal, but it is no longer. Yet these Christian converts were arrested under the annulled law.

Those who persecute Christians in Sudan believed that Christianity was an alien faith in that country. In reality, during the time of the Emperor Justinian (AD 527-565), Nubia (modern-day Sudan) was a center of Christianity. Today, most of the small minority of Sudanese who are Christians are Roman Catholic or Protestant, and there is also still a small number of courageous Greek Orthodox Christians there.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Sudan, see here.

“Four Christians in Sudan Arrested under Annulled Apostasy Law,” Morning Star News, July 11, 2022:

JUBASouth Sudan (Morning Star News) – Police in Darfur Region, Sudan have arrested four Christians under a law against apostasy that was annulled two years ago, according to local sources.

Police on June 28 arrested the Christians from the Sudanese Baptist Church in Zalingei, in western Sudan’s Central Darfur state, on charges of apostasy, detaining them until their release on bail on Tuesday (July 5), according to local media outlet Sudania 24.

The Christian converts from Islam – Bader el Dean Haroon Abdel Jabaar, his brother Mohammad Haroon Abdel Jabaar, Tariq Adam Abdalla and Morthada Ismail – had also been arrested on June 22 and released the same day.

Area Christians said they were arrested over allegations of apostasy under Article 126 of Sudan’s 1991 criminal code. In July 2020 the transitional government that took effect in September 2019 decriminalized apostasy, which had been punishable by death. Sudan’s 2020 Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Act prohibits the labeling of any group as “infidels” (takfir), according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The 2020 Act also repealed other Islamic-based articles of the 1991 criminal code, including public flogging as a punishment and prohibitions against drinking alcohol. Although Sudan has taken some steps to reform laws that violate religious rights, most current statutes are still based on Islamic law, Christian leaders say.

Human rights activists said prosecutors have mistakenly used a repealed article of the criminal code against the four Christians.

The Christians were scheduled to appear in court this week. Police also reportedly confiscated their Bibles and a sound system belonging to the church.

Officers reportedly ordered the Christians to leave the area. The arrested men refused but have since gone into hiding. Muslim extremists in the area have called for their death, one of the arrested Christians said….

The U.S. State Department in 2019 removed Sudan from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom” and upgraded it to a watch list. The State Department removed Sudan from the Special Watch List in December 2020. Sudan had previously been designated as a CPC from 1999 to 2018….

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