Fears Growing for Two South Sudan Pastors Held by Sudanese Intelligence
ICC Note: Fears rise as time passes for reverends Yat Michael and David Yein Reith who are currently being detained in an unknown location by Sudanese intelligence officials. No official charges have been made, yet both men have been held for over a month after visiting the city of Khartoum, Sudan from South Sudan. Amnesty International’s UK Director has stated, “The longer these two men are held in a secret location, the greater the risk of them being tortured.”
02/18/2015 Sudan (World Watch Monitor) – Fears are growing for the welfare of two South Sudanese church leaders who are being held in unknown locations by Sudan’s intelligence services.
Pastor Yat Michael and Pastor Peter Yen (also named as David Yein Reith in some reports) have now each been held for over a month after being arrested during visits to the country from their homes in South Sudan.
The two pastors are members of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, and both were arrested while visiting Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.
While South Sudan has a largely Christian population, Sudan is predominantly Muslim. However, many thousands of Southern Sudanese who fled the long civil war to live in the north are now so rooted there, they chose to remain. There are still churches in the north to meet their needs, although some have come under pressure in recent months.
“The longer these two men are held in a secret location, the greater the risk of them being tortured,” said Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen.
“To date, absolutely no charge has been brought against these two church leaders. The authorities in Sudan must reveal the location of these two men as soon as possible, and either charge them with a recognisable criminal offence or release them immediately,” she added.
Agents from Sudan’s National Intelligence Service cannot be prosecuted for what they do to a prisoner, so long as their actions are committed in the “course of their duty,” according to Amnesty International.
Taken into custody
Michael was taken into custody on Sunday 21 December after preaching that morning at a church in Khartoum. After the service several men who identified themselves as Sudanese government security officers demanded that Michael went with them and took him away without giving further explanation. The next day the security forces went to Michael’s temporary home and took some of his clothes and personal belongings.