Trial opens of Christians accused of crimes against Sudan

Two South Sudanese pastors went on trial Tuesday in Sudan on accusations of spying and crimes against the state, for which they could receive the death penalty, their lawyer said.

Yat Michael and Peter Yen were arrested during visits to the Sudanese capital Khartoum in late 2014 and early 2015, respectively.

Michael was detained when he delivered prayers at a Protestant church.

At the opening of their trial, prosecutors called for them to be convicted of crimes against the state and the constitution, as well as crimes of hatred, inciting ethnic hatred, espionage, and disrupting public order.

“Their mission is to preach the Christian religion, and there is nothing in Sudanese law against this,” said their lawyer, Muhannad al-Hussein.

The two pastors, who appeared in court wearing blue robes, were taken back to prison at the end of the hearing.

South Sudan, which split from Sudan in 2011, has a population that is mainly Christian or animist, while most Sudanese are Sunni Muslim.

Photo Credits : AFP

Libya Islamists abduct 20 Egypt Christians: govt

Islamist militants have abducted 20 Egyptian Christians in Libya in recent days, a source close to the government said Saturday.

The source said the Ansar al-Sharia militia had kidnapped 13 of them on Saturday in the coastal city of Sirte and the rest of them there over the past few days.

The identity of those kidnapped was not immediately clear, except that they were said to be Coptic Christians.

Suspected Al shabaab kill 36 in fresh Mandera attacks

At least 36 quarry workers were Tuesday morning killed by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in an attack in Koromei area, Mandera County.

The workers were ambushed as at the site as they slept by gunmen believed to be the militants and killed by shooting.

Others were decapitated by the attackers. Other reports say the attackers kidnapped some of the workers. All the victims are non-Muslims.

Those who were Muslims were separated from Christians. Police confirmed the deaths and added they were yet to know the motive. The attack came hours after another group launched an attack on a club in Wajir that left one person dead and 13 wounded.

Last week, 28 people, mostly teachers were shot dead after the militants hijacked their bus in Mandera County.

Kenya ranked number 43 in a list of countries where Christians are attacked

Christians in eastern Kenya are on high alert after a wave of attacks by Somali Muslims.

One pastor in the Garissa area who cannot be named for security reasons told Open Doors that Christians are scared of attacks and as a result, are staying away from church.

Open Doors said the town of Garissa, which is around 50 miles away from the border with Somalia, has been the scene of several attacks and “has been nearly overrun by Somali Muslims”. A recent hand grenade attack on a kiosk in Bula Punda, which injured eight people, has left locals feeling nervous about their security.

Four of the injured have since been released from hospital. The other four are still being treated for shrapnel wounds. One suspect has been arrested by authorities in connection with the attack.

Many of those living in Garissa are referred to as “down-Kenyans” because they have come to the city from other parts of the country to work.

The pastor who spoke to Open Doors believes it is these down-Kenyans who are being targeted in the attacks because they are regarded as outsiders and an “unwelcome Christian presence in the Muslim-dominated area”.

Another pastor who cannot be named for security reasons was distressed in a phone call to Open Doors. “As Christians, we are asking, when will this end? Will it ever end?” the pastor said. “Our Christian fellowship, spiritual growth and even our economy are being affected. Please pray for security, strength for the church and that God will watch over His people.”

The recent series of attacks has led to Kenya being ranked once again on Open Doors’ World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians experience the greatest persecution. Kenya was ranked 43 after an absence from the list for many years.

It is not only in Garissa that being a Christian has become harder. Open Doors says that across Kenya, churches are experiencing greater levels of persecution and that the government’s attitude to religious institutions is hardening.

Last year’s deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi by al-Shabaab has also exposed the threat of radical Muslims.Open Doors said the challenge for the church was to “engage constructively” with the pressures it is facing.

Source: Christian today

Christians keep off gays, says lawyer

Christians should have no say in whether gays and lesbians can enjoy their right of freedom of association, a lawyer said

Sande Ligunya urged the High Court not to allow Christians to prevent it from ruling in favour of her client Eric Gitari.

He wants the government to register an NGO for gays and lesbians in Kenya.

“We are respectful of Christians and, indeed, we are Christians. However, the views of the majority of them ought not to dissuade you,” she said.

Ligunya said gays and lesbians, just like other Kenyans, have a right to form an association and be part of one.