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Conviction of Sudanese Pastors Upheld

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Conviction of Sudanese Pastors Upheld

An Islamist judge in Sudan upheld the eviction of two pastors from their church-owned homes while 60 other Christians have been summoned to court over their refusal to relinquish property, sources said.

Judge Adam Tahir Haj Adam on Dec. 3 rejected an appeal of the Aug. 15 eviction of the Rev. Yahia Abdelrahim Nalu, Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) moderator, and the Rev. Sidiq Abdalla, a SPEC pastor, from their homes. In what Christians in Sudan believe is a campaign to take over church property, Adam ruled that Muslim businessman Hisham Hamad Al-Neel should take over the houses.

“All appeals presented are rejected, and implantation of court order should continue,” the court order read.

The two Sudanese Pastors and their families remain homeless since police raided their houses on Aug. 15 and evicted them. Pastor Abdalla has two children, ages 8 and 10, and Pastor Nalu has a 1-year-old boy. The SPEC leaders have presented another appeal to the high court, and a ruling is expected before the end of the year.

More than 60 church leaders are facing charges in various courts in Khartoum for refusal to hand over church lands and estates to Al-Neel, sources said. A group of 25 SPEC leaders on Nov. 28 appeared in a court in Omdurman, across the Nile River from Khartoum, after Al-Neel accused them of refusing to hand over church property that he claimed to own, they said.

Al-Neel is attempting to take over SPEC properties in Khartoum and Khartoum Bahri (Khartoum North). He is the Muslim businessman behind nearly all the cases filed to obtain church property, a source who requested anonymity told Morning Star News.

“Almost all the cases were opened by Hisham,” the source said.

The judge rejected the petition of the two evicted SPEC pastors even though the Aug. 15 eviction order referred to another house, No. 567, rather than that of one of the pastors, No. 772, a source said. The order does not name the occupants to be evicted, only the properties.

SPEC leaders said they believe the ruling could result in the imminent demolition of at least one of the church-owned houses.

“We need prayers from everyone,” Pastor Nalu said.