Ibrahim Inza, a south Sudan judge, recently junked the lawsuit against four Christians facing possible death sentences due to their alleged apostasy. According to a report by Christian Headlines, Judge Inza announced the decision on Sept. 8.
Details of the Apostasy Lawsuit
The article bared that the Sudanese judge dismissed the apostasy charges against Morthada Ismail, Tariq Adam, and brothers Mohammad and Bader el Dean Haroon Abdel Jabaar. It added that the four Christian men were initially jailed after their arrest on June 24 from their Zalingei church in Sudan's Central Darfur region.
Authorities released the men on the day of their arrest, but the four men were back in jail after four days. They were later released after posting bail the following month, the article said.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the four accused experienced demeaning queries from the prosecutor who handled their case.
In a statement, CSW said the prosecutor threatened the Christian men with death penalty should they refuse to renounce Christianity and refrain from doing anything that would show people their Christian beliefs. When the four accused did not heed the prosecutor's warning, they were charged with the apostasy crime.
Why the Charges Were Dropped
The same report noted that the law for which the Christian men were arrested was already nullified two years ago. Chrstian Headlines said the country's criminal code, specifically Article 126, was used to put the men behind bars. But, the crime of apostasy has been decriminalized in July 2020 by Sudan's transitional government.
It is noted that apostasy was a crime punishable by death. The 2020 Sudanese Fundamental Rights and Freedom Act stated it is prohibited to tag any organization or group as takfir ("infidels").
CSW said that the church the four accused belonged to had closed because of security threats issued by Muslim extremist groups. The Christian organization explained that due to similar threats to their safety and security, three other Christian churches in the area had to stop their activities.
A military coup that occurred in Sudan on Oct. 25 last year brought back the persecutions of Christians in the country. It was roughly only two years since the overthrow of the dictatorial government of Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
Bashir reportedly clinged to power for three decades, during which violence towards Christian believers in Sudan became rampant. It is noted that there are at least 2 million Christians across the country, which makes up 4.5% of Sudan's 43 million population.
From 1999 to 2018, Sudan was part of the U.S. Department of State's Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). Sudan was transferred to a special watch list, which meant the violations of religious freedom in the country had escalated.
The state department only took Sudan out of the watch list in December 2020, the report bared.