The Bahri Court of Appeal in Khartoum was due to hear on 1 March the case relating to a government order to demolish 27 Christian places of worship, reports Radio Dabanga.

An appeal lodged on 27 February succeeded in delaying the demolition of the churches, located north and east of the Nile, in Soba El Aradi and one in Jebel Awliya in Khartoum.

The dispute was initiated when land administrations, as well as the ministry, refused to provide the lawyers defending the case with the removal orders concerning three churches.

“We were surprised to discover in that order that there were 25 churches in total scheduled for removal. Later two churches were added, one in Soba El Aradi and the other in Jebel Awliya,” explained Dimas James Marjan, the lawyer who made the appeal.

A senior church member in Khartoum told Radio Dabanga that the churches intended for demolition “are ordinary houses where Christians congregate for prayer, where they exercise worship, according to the right that’s guaranteed by the law and the Constitution”. He explained that Christians use these prayer-homes because the government has stopped granting permits for churches to be built. Last year, churches in Bahri and El Haj Yousif were destroyed.

This news follows the release on 26 Feb of Czech Christian aid worker, Petr Jašek, who was imprisoned along with two Sudanese Christians. They remain in jail for alleged espionage, inciting strife between communities and undermining the authority of the state.

CitizenGO, which gathered over 400,000 petitions for Jašek’s release, has published a YouTube video translation of his press briefing into English.