Date: November 24, 2016
Sudan (MNN) — Czech Christian aid worker Petr Jasek has been in a Sudan prison for 352 days — nearly a full year. He’s one of the people featured on Voice of the Martyrs’ Prisoner Alert system, and an example of the abuse of religious freedom in Sudan today.
Petr Jasek (Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs)
According to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, Sudan is the eighth harshest country for restriction and persecution of Christians. Only about five percent of the Sudanese population is Christian, says The Joshua Project. The rest are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim.
Jasek and his three companions, Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Kodi, Rev. Kuwa Shemaal, and Mr. Abdelmoneim Abdelmoula, have repeatedly appeared in court in Sudan since August. They were given several charges including complicity to execute a criminal agreement, waging war against the state, espionage, calling for opposition to the public authority by violence or criminal force, inciting hatred between classes, propagation of a false news article, and entry into and photographing of military areas and equipment. The maximum sentence could be the death penalty.
Their most recent court appearance was on November 14, which we reported on here.
Dr. Jason Peters, Associate Vice President of Voice of the Martyrs, USA, explains the circumstances that led to Jasek’s arrest:
“He was trying to help some Christians who were persecuted, one man in particular…. He (the Sudanese Christian) was actually attacked and tortured and burned. [Jasek] went in there to try and learn more. He’s an international aid worker, he loves to help people in need, particularly Christians who are suffering because of persecution. So [Jasek] went in, and he tried to help him.
“On his way out of the country, [Jasek] was stopped at the airport. It turned out he had been followed the entire time he was in the country. They confiscated his laptop, his camera, and now they’ve kept him in prison. For several months they didn’t even charge him.”
However, Dr. Peters says Jasek continues to cling to his hope in Christ.
“He’s actually been able to reach out to several people [in prison]. He says he’s sharing the Gospel just as effectively as he would outside of prison. He’s said they’re able to have worship services together, they’re singing together, they’re studying Scripture.
“One of [Jasek’s] most treasured possessions, of course, is his Bible. It took a long time for him to get a Bible, but finally through miraculous intervention he ended up having a Bible. So now he is able to use it to encourage the other brothers there and to lead others to Christ who are in prison.”
Voice of the Martyrs has been in contact with Jasek. Dr. Peters shares, “This brother is just an inspirational guy…. We were able to get word out from [Jasek], and he said, ‘God holds the key to my cell. I’ve been talking about persecuted Christians in Sudan for years and now I find myself among them.’
“He’s married, he’s got some children, but he said, ‘It’s okay, because I know God has called me to this place to minister to these brothers.’”
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the United States and reflect on gratitude, please also take time to lift up Petr Jasek and others who cannot be with their families in prayer, that they would feel the encouragement of Jesus Christ and the Church while in prison. Pray that Jasek and the other Christians would be freed and allowed to return home.
If you’d like to be a direct encouragement, click here to write a letter to Jasek through Voice of the Martyrs!