South Sudan a predominantly Christian country seceded from Sudan in 2011, however instead of promoting religious freedom, Christians have less institutional support and protection against state authorities. Since independence the targeting of churches and Christians has increased. The government acts arbitrarily and apathetically destroying churches and arresting Christians, even while pardoning and releasing Pastor Hassan Abdulrahim and Abdulmoneim Abdelmoula, all in the name of the rule of law. There is much fear that conditions will continue to deteriorate for Christians in South Sudan.
06/02/2017 South Sudan (All Africa) – It was unexpected but much welcomed news. On May 11, Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir pardoned Pastor Hassan Abdulrahim from the Nuba Mountains, along with a Darfur activist, Abdulmoneim Abdelmoula.
After spending 17 months in several prisons, the two were released early from a 12-year sentence facing charges of undermining the constitution, espionage and spreading false information, their defense lawyer Muhanad Nur told Nuba Reports.
Abdulrahim came out of Kober prison, a facility in the capital of Khartoum used to lock up opponents and terrorists alike. “It’s hard to remain in prison all that time, especially when we think about our families,” Abdulrahim told Nuba Reports. “But it was also a good experience for us – to help build up the church in prison and encourage parishioners.”
The targeting of churches and Christians up after South Sudan gained independence in 2011. Once the predominantly Christian South Sudanese populace seceded, those Christians remaining within the country had less institutional support and protection against state authorities. In April 2013, the Minister of Guidance and Endowments that no licenses would be granted for building new churches in Sudan, citing a decrease in the South Sudanese population. Two years later, government officials penalties for apostasy and blasphemy.