Czech missionary leaves Sudan after Bashir pardon

2017-02-27 10:16
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. (File : AFP)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. (File : AFP)

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Khartoum - A Czech Christian aid worker sentenced to 24 years in jail left Sudan on Sunday after President Omar al-Bashir ordered his release, a foreign ministry official said.

Petr Jasek, 53, had been arrested in December 2015 and sentenced last month.

A member of a small Protestant Czech church called Cirkev Bratrska, Jasek had travelled to Sudan to help local Christians, according to Czech media reports.

Sudanese authorities said he had entered the country "illegally" from neighbouring South Sudan and gone to the conflict-riven state of South Kordofan.

In January, a court found him guilty of entering Sudan without a visa, spying, taking pictures of military installations and inciting hatred, according to his lawyer.

But on Sunday Bashir pardoned him and ordered his release, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour announced at a joint press conference with his visiting Czech counterpart Lubomir Zaoralek.

"Mr Jasek will accompany the Czech foreign minister to his homeland," Ghandour said.

Jasek left Sudan later on Sunday along with Zaoralek, a Sudanese foreign ministry official told reporters outside Khartoum airport.

Zaoralek had flown in to Khartoum earlier on Sunday to press for Jasek's release.

"I am very glad that we are able today to conclude the case of Mr Jasek," Zaoralek, speaking in English, said at the joint press conference.

He said Khartoum was convinced that Jasek "had no intention to undermine" Sudan.

Release International, a group which says its mission is to help persecuted Christians worldwide, said Jasek and three Sudanese men were detained after helping to finance the medical treatment of a student from the conflict-hit region of Darfur who had suffered burns during a rally.

Read more on:    omar al-bashir  |  sudan  |  east africa

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