Prosecution Rests in Trial of Christian Pastors in Sudan
The Sudanese government rested its case Thursday in the trial of Pastors Yat Michael Ruot and Peter Yein Reith. The two Christian pastors from South Sudan face potential death sentences after being arrested in Sudan because they had spoken up for fellow Christians in Sudan.
The prosecution called its last witness Thursday. The witness, a National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) expert, offered no new evidence against the pastors. Similarly, during the duration of the trial, which has been stretched out over a month, none of the prosecution’s witnesses have brought any real evidence to prove that the pastors are guilty of the myriad of charges against them, which range from insulting the Muslim religion and undermining the constitutional system to inciting religious sedition and undermining public order. Some of these baseless charges even carry the death penalty.
After questioning its last witness, the prosecution closed its case.
At the court on Thursday, the judge allowed the pastors to visit with their wives for 10 minutes as a guard supervised the visit. However, the wives and attorney are still not permitted to visit with the pastors at Kober Prison in North Khartoum where the pastors were recently moved.
Although authorities at the prison continue to violate international laws by denying the pastors access to their attorney, the pastors are no longer being held in shackles or solitary confinement. They have been moved into the general prison population, but unfortunately are separated from each other. This separation has been very discouraging to them as they are no longer able to lean on each other for moral and spiritual support.
The trial is set to continue on July 2nd. At that time the pastors will take the stand so that the judge can question them about the allegations levied against them. Under Sudanese law, if the judge concludes there is a lack of evidence on all charges, he must dismiss the complaint and discharge the pastors from custody. If, however, the judge finds sufficient evidence on any or all of the charges levied against them, the defense will put on its case to overcome the presumption of guilt present from the prosecution’s evidence.
As the trial wraps up, Pastors Michael & Peter need our prayers and support more than ever. If found guilty, they could face execution. Will you stand with us now in support of our brothers in Christ as they suffer for the sake of the Gospel?
Sign our petition today to show the international community and the government of Sudan that you join us in the fight for freedom for these two brave pastors.