Sudanese Pastors Facing Possible Death Set Free
Two pastors who had been facing a possible death sentence in Sudan have been released from prison.
Clergyman Yat Michael and Peter Reith had been imprisoned in the Sudan for nine months.
Michael expressed his grattitude when he spoke with the American Center for Law and Justice after their release.
"They released us today. We are happy. We had heard we won't be released. But praise God!" he said.
The pastors faced several charges including undermining the constitutional system, espionage, promoting hatred among sects, and breach of public peace.
A guilty verdict of espionage and undermining the constitional system would have meant death, but irregularities in the case resulted in the dismissal of those charges.
During hearing, however, both pastors were convicted of lesser charges. Pastor Michael was found guilty of inciting hatred and Pastor Reith was convicted of breaching public peace. But both were released on time served.
Tina Ramirez, founder of Hardwired, gave more details on the sentencing. Hardwired is an organization that defends religous freedoms and beliefs.
"The judge said that they served enough time to cover their convictions," she said. "One of them was convicted of breaching public peace, under Article 69 of the Sudan criminal Act. The second one was convicted of managing a terrorism organization, under Article 65 of the Sudanese criminal Act. "The lawyers are considering an appeal [for the lesser charges]."
Stil both pastors are overjoyed about their release.
In a comment to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) Michael said, "I am feeling free because I was in jail for months. I have become like I'm born again."