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South Sudan pastors released

September 2015

Barnabas Fund has reported that two South Sudanese pastors, Yat Michael and Peter Reith, who were both facing the death penalty, were released on 5 August. They had served eight months in detention, in Khartoum.

Pastor Yat Michael was arrested last December while visiting a church in Khartoum which has undergone significant pressure from government authorities over land rights. He encouraged the believers at the church, invoking anger from local authorities. Pastor Peter Yein Reith was arrested in January after he submitted a letter to the Religious Affairs Office in Khartoum enquiring as to the whereabouts of Yat Michael.

The pastors were charged on 1 March 2015 with eight offences, including ‘undermining the constitutional system’ and ‘espionage’, which both carry the death penalty. Friends and relatives sang for joy outside the court as they heard the news; others cried with relief. Amnesty International also welcomed their release.

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