JUBA, June 11, 2015 [Gurtong] – According to Amnesty International the two South Sudanese, Reverend Yat Michael and Reverend Peter Yen of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church were arrested by the Sudanese National Intelligence Service (NISS) in Khartoum, Sudan on 21 December 2014 and 11 January 2015 respectively.
They were charged on 1st March in Khartoum with eight offences under the 1991 Penal Code.
They are charged with committing joint acts in execution of criminal conspiracy; undermining the constitutional system, waging war against the state, espionage against the country, disclosure and obtaining information and official documents, promoting hatred amongst or against sects, disturbance of the public peace and insulting religious creeds.
The two pastors were held incommunicado by the NISS until 2 March, when they were transferred to Kober prison and permitted their first family visits.
Reverend Yat Michael and Reverend Peter Yen went on a hunger strike for two days on 28 and 29 March objecting to their continued detention without trial and to their lack of access to lawyers.
They are both now being represented pro-bono by a team of lawyers. They have been to court twice, on 19 May and 31 May. Their next court appearance is on 15 June.
Amnesty International considers Reverend Yat Michael and Reverend Peter Yen as prisoners of conscience, arrested, detained and charged solely because of their peaceful expression of their religious convictions.