Sudanese pastors Hassan Kodi and Kuwa Shamal, with their friends, Abdulmonem Abdumawla and Petr Jasek, appeared in court again on Oct. 17th. A source, who asked to remain unnamed for security reasons, reported that “During the last court appearance they postponed the case for three weeks to translate some document to assist the court. Today (Oct 17), the translator said he finished and the court started from the beginning.”
Kodi and Shamal are pastors from the Sudan Church of Christ, a denomination whose members predominantly originate from the Nuba Mountains in Sudan. They were arrested on December 18 on charges that were unclear at the time. Rev. Kuwa Shamal, (the head of a church committee) was taken from his home in the district of Bahri, north of Khartoum, while Rev. Hassan Abduraheem Kodi Taour (the church’s vice-moderator) was arrested at his home in Omdurman, a city across the Nile, west of the capital.
This past August they were formally charged on at least seven counts, including complicity to execute a criminal agreement, waging war against the state, espionage, calling for opposition to the public authority by violence or criminal force, inciting hatred between classes, propagation of a false news article, and entry into and photographing of military areas and equipment. The maximum sentence if they are convicted on the charges of waging war against the state and espionage is the death penalty.
Appeals have been filed and postponements have drawn the case out, but the court has finally reconvened following the translation of important documents. The unnamed source further reported that a large number of Christians gathered inside and outside the courtroom during the Oct. 18 session. “The men are all in good spirits and encouraged by the large Christian presence. They are aware of the prayers of Christians around the world for them and are very thankful.” It is not clear right now when their next court appearance will be scheduled. Believers in Sudan expressed gratitude to the Lord for His sustaining grace to the men. Give thanks with them and pray that God will use their testimony to expand His Kingdom in Sudan.
Father, we join Christians in Sudan as they give thanks for Your sustaining grace to these men as they await trial. We pray that You will continue to provide for them and their families in all their needs, both physical and spiritual. Grant wisdom, Lord, for the lawyers as they prepare their arguments that truth will be revealed and true justice served. As these men suffer on behalf of Your work in Sudan, we pray that the testimony of their faith will be apparent to all and that You will use even this ordeal to expand Your kingdom in Sudan that Your name might be exalted. Amen.