Court fines 7 Sudanese Christian leaders for opposing Muslim takeover of church property

A Sudanese court has imposed fines on seven Christian church leaders who were charged with "objection to authorities" after they defended a church property in Omdurman from a Muslim takeover.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / ASIM)Omdurman market. 30 May 2015.

Speaking to Morning Star News in an interview, Rev. Yahia Abdelrahim Nalu said the court ruled on Feb. 5 that Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church elder Yohanna Tia was guilty of objecting to authorities. The Christian leader was fined 5,000 Sudanese pounds ($275), while several others were ordered to pay 2,500 Sudanese pounds ($137) each as fines.

Rev. Nalu said 26 church leaders, including Tia, faced court last week for opposing Muslim businessman Hisham Hamad Al-Neel's attempt to illegally take over the Evangelical School of Omdurman. Nineteen of them were set free because of lack of evidence.

SPEC moderator Rev. Dawoud Fadul and Rev. Edris Kartina were among those ordered to pay 2,500 Sudanese pounds. The church elders who were also fined include Adam George, Bolus Tutu, school director Ustaz Dauod Musa Namnam, and another man known only as Azhari.

In August last year, Radio Dabanga reported that police had ordered the forced removal of Anglican Evangelical Church minister Rev. Yahya Abdelrahman and deputy Rev. Siddig Abdallah from their homes. The move was apparently ordered by the Omdurman Central Court which ruled that an investor owned the land property rights.

Rev. Abdelrahman criticized the order and said it violated Christians' rights in Sudan. He also said he had filed an appeal against the eviction.

In April last year, a church elder was killed in the Evangelical Church and School in Omdurman amid the ongoing land conflict. Young Christians staged a sit-in for two weeks when the investor attempted to take over the school by force.

Church elder Yunan Abdallah was killed when a quarrel broke out during a police raid at the site. Another was seriously injured in the incident.