Human Rights Entity Lauds Dismissal of Apostasy Case against Christian Converts in Sudan

Credit: CSW

The UK-based human rights foundation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), has welcomed the dismissal of a case against four men who were accused of apostasy in Sudan.

In a report published September 9, CSW indicated that the General Prosecutor in Central Darfur, Sudan, found no grounds to punish Badar Haroun Abdul-Jabbar, Mohamed Haroun Abdul-Jabbar, Tariq Aref Abdallah, and Mortada Ismael Yousef who were accused of converting to Christianity.

The case of the four Christian men had been transferred to the criminal court, with the first hearing having been scheduled to take place on August 30.

They attended the hearing, where the judge informed them that the file had been recalled by the prosecutor and indicated that the charges were likely to be dismissed as apostasy is no longer a criminal offense.

In the September 9 report, CSW’s Founder President, Mervyn Thomas, lauded the dismissal and found it regrettable that the four had been tormented for a non-existent crime.


“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.

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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.


“Reports from the church in Central Darfur that it is not safe for them to reopen, plus reports of other churches that have closed in the last year, are a stark illustration that freedom of religion or belief is under serious threat,” he said, and added, “We call on the international community to raise these cases directly with Sudan’s military leaders as a matter of urgency.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.