South Sudanese pastor arrested in Sudan

(Photo: mllepetite)

A second pastor of South Sudanese descent is currently behind bars without charges in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Rev. David Yein Reith was arrested on January 9 without being charged and has remained behind bars since, the Morning Star News reports.

Citing an unnamed source, the Morning Star News revealed that the Sudanese National Security and Intelligence Services picked Rev. Reith up at his West Gerif home. The pastor had rushed home from a prayer meeting after receiving a phone call from the NSIS.

The Morning Star News source elaborated that the NSIS threatened to arrest Rev. Reith's wife and 1-year-old son if he did not head home as per their instructions. "We will arrest your entire family should you fail to come home as soon as possible," the source quoted the NSISas  telling Rev. Reith.

According to the priest's wife, officials at the NSIS refused to tell her of the charges for which they were detaining her husband. 

Pastor Michael's wife was also denied permission to visit him while the pastor is in NSIS custody. "Each time they said they were going to arrange a visit for me, they continued to refuse my requests to visit my husband," his wife told the Morning Star News.

Reith is the second South Sudanese pastor to be arrested in Khartoum. The Morning Star News reports that the Rev. Yat Michael was arrested by the NSIS on December 21. Michael was visiting the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church to speak about the harassment that it was experiencing from Sudanese authorities.

Authorities in Sudan are empowered by Article 77 of 1991's notorious Public Order Law, which authorises officials to make arrests of people, including Christians, if they instigate "public disturbance."

Christians have been under fire since 2011 after President Omar al-Bashir expressed his commitment to institute only the Arabic language and the Islamic shariah law in Sudan.