Sudanese Agency Admits to Religiously Motivated Seizure of Property
National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) Seized Vehicles Due to Evangelist Activity
10/09/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of Sudan admitted that they seized the property of Rev. Noah Ibrahim due to religious intolerance. In 2012, NISS approached Rev. Ibrahim and confiscated his car without providing a legal reason for doing so. Again, in 2013, they arrested Rev. Ibrahim and seized a second car that he was using. He was released from custody shortly after, but his car was not returned.
Last year, Rev. Ibrahim was able to find a lawyer willing to help him take NISS to court over the illegal seizures of the vehicles. During the long process of this case, NISS maintained the stance that they were allowed to seize his car, but never gave a legal reason. On September 14, 2018, NISS responded to the court in a letter. In the letter, they said that they confiscated the car “because it was owned by a foreign organization to evangelize and bring people to Christianity.” This is not illegal in Sudan. Anyone is free to evangelize to anyone else, including foreigners. Also, this is a false claim as at least one of the cars was owned by Rev. Ibrahim himself.
Unfortunately, this is not the only ongoing case of discrimination. When ICC spoke with one of the lawyers involved in Rev. Ibrahim’s case, he said that he “currently has four cases open against NISS.” These other cases involve the eviction of pastors from their homes and the confiscation of buildings from church bodies. He also wanted to explain that Rev. Ibrahim is not concerned with the ownership of the cars, but wants to “help give a voice to the persecuted Church in Sudan and show other Christians that they can take a stand for their rights.”
Thankfully, there have been several small successes this year in Sudan. The lawyer also explained that the government did “return ownership of 19 properties to the Sudanese Church of Christ [in August], though it was not the physical buildings that were taken. They returned the ownership papers, which had been taken into governmental custody.” He added that he believes this might just be a show meant to appease the United States as they try to normalize relations. The court is set to decide on Rev. Ibrahim’s case on October 16.
Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We hope to see the Sudanese court stand up for the rights of all citizens. They recently showed that they are willing to go up against the government with the decisions to return ownership of property to the church. We hope to see this continue and for the government to end the harassment of churches and pastors.”
For interviews with Nathan Johnson, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org