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Petr Jasek in prison
Petr (on left) behind bars with fellow
prisoners prior to his release.

Petr Jasek, the Christian aid worker sentenced to life in prison for allegedly spying, is back home on Czech soil after the Czech Foreign Minister flew to Khartoum to negotiate his release. Petr is reported to have arrived in Prague after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir issued a pardon. He was sentenced to serve more than 20 years in jail after helping a student from Darfur who had been seriously injured at a rally. The two Sudanese men convicted with him -- Pastor Hassan Abduraheem and Abdulmonem Abdumawla -- remain in prison.

The three believers were accused of funding rebel movements in areas such as South Kordofan and Darfur. Petr was sentenced to life imprisonment on January 29th after being found guilty of various charges, including spying and inciting hatred. He was also fined 100,000 Sudanese pounds (more than $20,000 CAD) for undertaking humanitarian aid work without a permit.

Pastor Hassan and Abdulmonem were each sentenced to 12 years, having been convicted of various charges. Yet their main "crime" was "aiding and abetting" Petr with his humanitarian work. Their lawyers have lodged appeals against these sentences. (A previous report on their situation may be reviewed here.)

Petr travelled to Khartoum in December 2015 to give the injured student from Darfur funds toward his medical costs. Security agents searching his bags at Khartoum Airport found the receipt for his donation and detained him on the spot, accusing him of supporting rebels. He spent 14 months behind bars prior to his recently granted pardon.

The Czech Christian aid worker has a 20-year background in the medical field, including ten years as a hospital administrator. He has worked to provide care to Christians in Sudan and Nigeria, including medical care for those attacked by Boko Haram. While rejoicing with Petr and his family over his release, let's stand with them in prayer on behalf of his Sudanese friends who are still imprisoned.