SUDAN – Czech missionary freed following international petition
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has just ordered the pardon and release of Petr Jašek, a Czech missionary who had been detained in a Sudanese prison since December 2015.
Jašek’s release was announced last Sunday at a joint press conference in Khartoum between Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour and Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek.
‘President Bashir has pardoned Czech national Petr Jašek because of good relations between Sudan and the Czech Republic. Mr Jašek will accompany the Czech foreign minister to his homeland,’ Ghandour said.
Zaoralek said: ‘I am very glad that we are able today to conclude the case of Mr Jašek,’ adding that the Sudanese government was now convinced that Jašek ‘had no intention to undermine’ them.
Jašek later flew back home to Prague with Zaoralek.
Jašek had gone to Sudan in the hope of helping persecuted Christians in the region. He was arrested in December 2015 after attempting to pay the medical costs of a Sudanese student. The Christian aid worker was convicted earlier this year of entering Sudan illegally, inciting hatred and spying on the military, for which he was sentenced to 24 years in jail. He was also fined 100,000 Sudanese pounds (about £12,500) for working with an NGO without a permit.
Jašek’s release was a result of a petition sent to the US State Department and another two online petitions organised by Citizen GO to free him, which gathered over 500,000 signatures worldwide.