November 9, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – An exiled Sudanese rights group has accused the religious affairs ministry of interfering in the management of Christian’s worship affairs and imposing unelected leaders.
The Human Rights and Development Organization (HUDO) issued a statement condemning the recent arrest of some religious leader of Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), in Al-Thawra 29 neighbourhood in Khartoum state on Sunday 22 October.
Is a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, HUDO said this case should not be dissociated from a number of cases proving the prosecution of Christians in Sudan and the violation of religious freedom by the Sudanese authorities.
“It is a deliberate process in which the current regime has created churches management department headed by Muslims at the ministry of religions intervening in Christians basic rights of worship while leaving the Sudanese Church Council with the secondary role,” said HUDO Centre’s executive director Bushra Gamar.
The group which works on the situation of human rights the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile areas explained that the elected group gathered on that Sunday to pray at the fixed hour in line with an agreement reached by the two groups last May. But they were blocked by the police which prevented them from entering the church.
Following what, the leaders of this group had been summoned at the police station and arrested for entering to the Church when the government-backed group arrived and performed their prayer separately.
On 31 October, the day of trial, the judge offered to the five defendants to discharge the case against them if they sign a written commitment to not hold their separate prayers
“The offer was entirely rejected by the defendants”. As a result, the judge postponed court to 15th November 2017.
On 28 October, the Sudanese police said it had briefly closed the church and temporarily arrested a group of five religious leaders after a conflict between its team members over the over the caring ministry in the church and upon the request of its leaders.
“There was a dispute over the caring ministry of the Sudanese Church of Christ in Al-Thawra 29 neighbourhood between the Northern Sudan Circle group and the New Circles group of the church. The Churches Affairs Directorate at the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments, received a complaint and set a time for each group in a decision issued on 27 May 2017,” said the police
However, the churches directorate cancelled its previous decision in August 2017 and tasked only the Northern Sudan group with the care ministry. The two parties were notified the decision in the presence of the police.