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World News

UK government 'deeply concerned' about Sudan Christian convictions

by Aaron James

Tobias Ellwood MP, a Foreign Office Minister, revealed the government's position after he was questioned in the Commons by Christian DUP MP Gregory Campbell.

It's after Pastor Hassan Abduelraheem Kodi and Czech aid work Petr Jasek, both Christians, were sentenced to lengthy spells in prison for alleged espionage crimes.

Pastor Hassan was sentenced to 12 years in prison while Petr Jasek was given 23 years along with a $15,000 fine.

A third man, campaigner Abdulmonem Abdumawlla, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage and inciting hatred crimes.

The men (main picture) were involved in helping to fundraise for a Darfuri student who was severely injured in a demonstration.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide said it was "profoundly dismayed" by the verdicts when they were announced last month and says the Sudanese government has cracked down on the men because of their Christian faith and involvement in a protest.

When asked whether the government would help free the men, Tobias Ellwood replied: "We are deeply concerned by the verdict in the case against Pastor Hassan Abduelraheem Kodi, Petr Jasek, and Abdulmonem Abdumawlla, however we are aware that the defendants have the right to appeal.

"We have regularly raised our concerns over this case, as well as the wider issue of freedom of religion and belief, directly with the Government of Sudan, most recently on 17 January; and will continue to do so as part of our ongoing human rights dialogue."

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