“We welcome the dismissal of the criminal case against Badar Haroun Abdul-Jabbar, Mohamed Haroun Abdul-Jabbar, Tariq Aref Abdallah and Mortada Ismael Yousef,” Mr. Mervyn said.
He added, in reference to the Christian converts, “It is regrettable that they have been subjected to this trying legal ordeal when the crime they were accused of committing is no longer on the statute books. We continue to call for an investigation into the decisions made by the state officials who detained and charged the men, and for further investigations into allegations that they were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.”
The four men were initially arrested, questioned, and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment on June 24 in Zalingei, Central Darfur.
On June 28, they were arrested again and held at the main prison in Zalingei.
CSW reported that on July 3, the men were brought before the prosecutor, who told them they would face the death penalty if they did not renounce their Christian faith and agree not to pray, share their faith or participate in any activities that would identify them as Christians. The men reportedly refused and were charged with apostasy.
During the civilian-led transitional period, which began in July 2019 and was ended by a military coup in October 2021, the former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok-led government removed apostasy from the criminal statute books. It went on to pass legislation that made it a criminal offense to accuse any person of apostasy.
In the September 9 report, CSW indicates that following the dismissal of the charges, the men are no longer required to comply with bail conditions, adding, “The prosecutor has ordered the return of the belongings which were confiscated from the men during their arrest. The church they had formed, which was authorized by the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments during the transitional period, has decided to remain closed due to the threats and attacks they have received from extremists in their community.”
According to the human rights foundation, three other churches have closed in Zalingei this year due to an increase in threats and violence.
Following the military coup on 25 October 2021, sources informed CSW that church leaders living in camps for internally displaced persons were threatened by officials who told them they would face apostasy charges if they continued to meet to pray.
Mr. Mervyn said that the Christian human rights foundation is concerned by the deteriorating security and human rights situation in Sudan.