A petition urging Sudanese officials to release a Christian pastor who might be executed for his faith has reached nearly 113,000 signatures, as activists turn up the heat on efforts to save the man’s life.
As Faithwire reported last month, the Rev. Hassan Abduraheem is among those who have been arrested and imprisoned for practicing his Christian faith in the majority Muslim country, with Abduraheem being repeatedly detained over the past year and accused of national security crimes.
Abduraheem has been hit with a number of charges, including agitating hatred between classes, waging war against the state and espionage — crimes that carry the death penalty.
But the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a conservative activist group, has said these charges are bogus, and that Abduraheem and fellow pastor Kuwa Shamal were targeted due to their Christian faith.
With the clock ticking, the ACLJ is trying to put international pressure on Sudan to secure Abduraheem’s release, unveiling a petition and publishing a blog post this week saying that the past few days have been a “whirlwind” for the pastor. While Shamal — Abduraheem’s fellow pastor — was freed last week, Abduraheem’s case hasn’t been cleared; he remains detained.
“Pastor Hassan’s attorneys finished laying out Pastor Hassan’s defense (this week),” ACLJ lawyer Jordan Sekulow wrote in the post. “Next Monday, they will submit their final legal arguments, with a decision from the judge expected on January 23rd.”
With the clock ticking, the ACLJ is turning up the heat on its campaign, sending a letter this week to Dr. Awad Al-Hassan Al-Noor, Sudan’s Minister of Justice, in an effort to make the case for Abduraheem’s potential acquittal and release.
“Rev. Abduraheem has been detained for over a year as the result of an act of kindness he bestowed on a young boy in need of medical attention,” the letter reads. “In November 2015, Rev. Abduraheem, along with Rev. Kuwa Shamal, attended a Christian conference in Sudan where Rev. Abduraheem was a speaker.”
The text continued, “During his speech, Rev. Abduraheem showed the audience a picture of a young man who had been badly beaten for attending a demonstration, and explained that he was helping pay for his medical treatment. In December 2015, Sudan’s National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) arrested the pastors on national security charges associated with helping the injured man.”
The ACLJ letter also made the case that Sudan has an obligation to allow freedom of expression based on international treaties the country has signed. The organization plans to send letters to other officials as well, including the vice-president of Sudan, and is urging the public to demand that the pastor be freed. Find out more about the case and the petition here.
Only time will tell if these arguments compel officials to release Abduraheem, though time is certainly running out.
(H/T: Christian Post)
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