Czech FM will press Sudan to free jailed missionary

February 25, 2017 11:26 am
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Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek, seen in 2016, has made the release of a Christian aid worker in Sudan a “priority,” according to a statement © AFP/File / ADEM ALTAN

, Prague, Czech Republic, Feb 24 – Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek will travel to Sudan on Sunday to try to free a Czech Christian aid worker sentenced to 24 years in prison on charges including spying and inciting hatred.

“Petr Jasek’s release is a priority for Minister Zaoralek,” the ministry said in a statement Friday.

The 53-year-old missionary, a member of a small Protestant Czech church called Cirkev Bratrska, had gone to Sudan to help local Christians, according to Czech media reports.

Sudanese authorities arrested him in December 2015, saying he entered the country “illegally” from neighbouring South Sudan and went to the state of South Kordofan.

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

The Czech foreign ministry said at the time it was convinced that the verdict was not backed by facts.

Zaoralek will meet with his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour and parliament speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer while in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Release International, an organisation helping persecuted Christians worldwide, said last month that Jasek was detained along with three Sudanese men after helping to finance the medical treatment of a student from Darfur who was burned during a rally.

“Sudanese officials accuse Petr Jasek and three Sudanese men of funding rebel movements in areas such as South Kordofan and Darfur,” it said.

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