A Sudanese church leader is scheduled to appear in a Darfuri court on Sunday, 28 October, on charges of apostasy, after he refused to recant his faith while in police custody, Middle East Concern (MEC) reports.
Tajadin Idris Yousef was the leader of the group of 13 Sudanese Christians taken by security officials from a home in the city of Nyala, southwest Darfur, on 13 October.
Three of those arrested were from the conflict-torn Nuba Mountains, southern Sudan, and once it became clear they were from a Christian background they were released, said MEC.
The rest, including Yousef, were kept in detention and put under severe pressure, including beatings, to recant their Christian faith.
Nine of the men ultimately gave in and were released last Sunday (21 October) after paying fines, according to MEC. They were charged with “disturbing the peace”.
Yousef, however, refused to deny his faith and faces apostasy charges. He was released on Monday (22 October), pending the court hearing, and has to report to local police every three days, said MEC.
Apostasy in Muslim-majority Sudan is a crime, punishable by imprisonment or death for those who refuse to recant their faith.
Mariam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who received the death sentence for apostasy but was freed in 2014, told World Watch Monitor last year that her problems were symptomatic of those faced by the Christian community in Sudan.
“We know there’s many places [where] churches have to change; they’re building another building, they’re reselling the church land, Christian schools.
“Just after one year from my release, another two pastors, Peter Yen and Yat Michael, were arrested … They’re arresting Christian girls, Christian women, for making local wine, selling it … or not covering your head,” she said.