Pastors blocked from leaving Sudan

2015-08-06 22:53
Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor, prepare to sleep in the open at night in the town of Awerial, South Sudan. (Ben Curtis, AP)

Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor, prepare to sleep in the open at night in the town of Awerial, South Sudan. (Ben Curtis, AP)

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Khartoum - Khartoum airport authorities have prevented two South Sudanese pastors from leaving the country after a court cleared them of spying charges and ordered their release, a source close to the case said on Thursday.

On Wednesday "the pastors went to the airport to travel abroad but the authorities prevented them and told them they were banned from travelling," the source told AFP.

He declined to say to where the men, members of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, had been attempting to travel, and it was unclear how long the travel restrictions would last.

Police could not be reached for comment.

Pastors Yat Michael and Peter Yen were freed by a court on Wednesday in their trial over eight charges, two of which risked the death penalty.

The judge convicted them on one lesser charge each but cleared them on the others and released them on the basis that they had already served their sentences as they awaited trial.

Michael was arrested by National Intelligence and Security Service agents in December after preaching a sermon at a church in the Khartoum North area.

NISS detained Yen in January after he handed over a letter asking about Michael's whereabouts.

South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011, six years after the signing of a peace deal that ended 22 years of bloody civil war.

The population of South Sudan is mostly Christian and animist while most Sudanese are Sunni Muslim.

Read more on:    sudan  |  south sudan  |  east africa  |  religion

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