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Telahoon Nogose Kassa
Photo: Morning Star News

Telahoon Nogose Kassa, head of discipleship at the embattled Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, was released after Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested him without charges on December 13th, 2015. While it's unclear why Telahoon was released, according to Human Rights Watch, NISS can hold detainees for up to four-and-a-half months without judicial review.

During the night of December 13th, NISS agents went to the home of the 36-year-old Christian leader, ordering him to report to their offices. Upon doing so the following day, officials arrested Telahoon and took him to a detention centre in Khartoum.

No reasons for the arrest were given, though Telahoon was questioned for five consecutive days about his relationship with a foreign missionary who had attended a discipleship class. Sources believe that he was targeted for his Christian activities and his opposition to government interference with the church.

Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church has fought a government takeover of its property. Telahoon's arrest came four months after two South Sudanese pastors, Rev. Peter Yein Reith and Rev. Yat Michael, were released following eight months in prison on false charges of capital crimes due to their attempts to defend the church against the illegal sale of its property.

Although we are praising God for the safe return of Telahoon, and for the previously granted release of the two South Sudanese pastors, we do ask for prayer on behalf of a pastor from another church who is still in detention. Authorities arrested Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor at his home on December 18th. While no charges have been brought against him, NISS officials were said to have objected to his Christian activities.

More information about this case, as well as other reports on persecution in Sudan, are available at our Sudan Country Report. It is important to note that Sudan was recently subject to a United Nation's Universal Periodic Review on human rights abuses.