Christian pastor on trial in Sudan: 'God chose me to suffer'

Pastor David Yein Reith said he felt God had chosen him to suffer.Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Two Christian pastors currently on trial in Sudan have said they are not afraid, despite the fact that they could face the death penalty, because of their faith in God.

Speaking to CBN News from his cell in Khartoum prison, pastor David Yein said: "I am not afraid of anything... I am never afraid of anything because it is my love... because I believe. God chose me to suffer."

Yein (also named as Peter Yein Reith in some reports) was arrested in December last year and fellow Christian pastor Yat Michael in January this year. They are being held on charges of espionage and 'offending Islamic beliefs'. Their trial was due to begin on May 19, but was postponed to May 31.

The pastors, who are both originally from South Sudan, said they had not committed a crime. Michael said he didn't know why they had arrested him "we just go to do our ministry training in our church".

Yat Michael told the Sudanese authorities: "I am a pastor. I must speak the Word of God."Christian Solidarity Worldwide

When the authorities asked him why he was preaching Michael said: "I am preaching because this is my call. I am a pastor. I must speak the Word of God."

They said had not been physically beaten in prison, but had faced psychological intimidation and have not been allowed to have any contact with their families.

But the experience hasn't stopped them from worshipping God; Yein said that they have a church in the prison and they pray together with other prisoners.

He asked for prayer "that this test be for the glory of God in this place... and for us to be in peace with our people and the ones who are against us."

Sudan's constitution theoretically does protect freedom of religion or belief, but the high-profile case of Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death for apostasy last year, demonstrates that this protection is not borne out in the justice system.

It is ranked sixth on Open Doors' 'World Watch List' of 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution. It has been designation as a 'Country of particular concern' by the US State Department since 1999.