Sudan (MNN) — The release of Petr Jasek, a Czech aid worker, was welcome news this weekend. But the question remains: what about the two men convicted in conjunction with the case?
Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “They’re in jail for allegedly helping a spy. Well, we know that Petr was not a spy. He was an aid worker, he was a VOM worker.”
So if the crimes they’re supposed to have helped with have been pardoned, why aren’t they being set free as well? Judging by how the entire case has gone, it’s not really a surprise.
In Spain, a November gathering in support of the prisoners in Sudan. (Photo courtesy of HazteOir.org via flickr: https://flic.kr/p/AKgA37)
Nettleton says, “The thing for us to understand is this case was never based on evidence. It was never based on facts or what really happened. It was based on the Sudanese government wanting to make a point to the international community, wanting to make a point particularly to Mr. Jasek, ‘Hey, we can lock you up, we can put you in jail.’”
In addition, these men do not have a foreign country backing them. They aren’t connected to a big ministry. They have no international recognition. The push for their freedom is not globally intense.
That’s why Nettleton says, “We need to be their voice, we need to speak out, we need to be the power of a government to say, ‘Hey, let these guys go too, just as you let Mr. Jasek go.’”
If you recall, 2017 began with the freedom of the fourth man connected to the case, Rev. Kuwa Shamal Abazmam Kurri. As we mentioned earlier this week, there is some hope that the Sudanese government will want to release the final two men as a sign of good behavior.
(Photo courtesy of the World Watch Monitor)
As the Obama administration came to a close, economic sanctions on the country were temporarily lifted. The sanctions will be reassessed this summer, so it makes sense that Sudan will want to present itself as a changed nation. Nettleton has hope that overall, persecution against Christians will lessen.
But even if this does not happen, he expects followers of Christ in Sudan will stand strong as they have in the past: “When the government has come against them, they have said, ‘Nope, we’re just going to keep following Jesus Christ. Yes, we understand some of us are going to suffer for that. Some of us are going to go to prison for that. In fact, some of us may be killed for that. But, Jesus is worth it, and we’re going to keep following him.’”
One big indicator of that is the support Christians showed during this drawn-out court case. “There have been Christians who have boldly attended the trial hearings. There have been groups of Christians who have sang outside the courthouse.”
As Nettleton says, this should be encouraging for believers all over the world. And also, it’s a call for prayer.
“We need to be in prayer for brothers and sisters who are facing challenges for their faith. We’re the Body of Christ. We’re supposed to lift up the parts of the Body that are suffering.”
Ask God to sustain these two men, and all Christians in Sudan. Pray for their perseverance and strength of witness to God’s love.
In addition, you can contact your representatives to make sure our government pushes for freedom for these two men. Click here for more information.