Sudanese pastor may face death penalty after five month illegal detention

Fears were raised a Sudanese pastor could face the death penalty after the government reportedly planned to charge him with crimes against the state.

Sudanese officials have engaged in a crackdown on Christians, according to ICC.Reuters

Pastor Taour was arrested on December 21 and has not been allowed to speak to his family or lawyers until this week. His attorney insisted there was no case against him but may face charges that carry the death penalty.

"We believe there is no case," Attorney Mohaned Mustafa told International Christian Concern (ICC). "I think the case will be sent to the court this month."

It was announced on May 10 that the Sudanese Attorney General would take over Taour's custody, a sign that he would soon be charged. Although Sudanese law dictates charges must be bought within 45 days of arrest, Taour had been held for more than five months before he was charged.

It is believed the pastor now suffers a stomach ulcer due to his treatment and was only recently allowed to see his family for the first time.

ICC's regional manager for Africa, Troy Augustine, said the Sudanese government's treatment of Taour followed an "unsurprising pattern that has continued for decades". He said the north African state had shown itself to be an "enemy of religious freedom and one of the prime persecutor's of the church in Africa".

Augustine said: "As Sudan continues to harass and unfairly detain church leaders, the state proves itselfto stand for human rights and religious freedom under the law, but hypocritical and contradictory in practice."

However Augustine said there was still hope for Taour as "Sudan often responds to international pressure.

"ICC calls on everyone concerned to voice your protest with the Sudanese Embassy."