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RELIGIOUS LEADERS UNJUSTLY CONVICTED AMID GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN CHURCH AFFAIRS: Two leaders of the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church (SEPC) were unjustly convicted on 30 October of criminal misappropriation and criminal trespass.

Mr Rafat Obid, chairman of the SEPC Lands and Buildings Committee and Reverend Daniel William, deputy chairman of the same committee, were found guilty by a court in Khartoum, and were both required to pay a fine of 5000 Sudanese pounds (SDGs) each (approximately US $750).

The case against the men stems from a dispute between the SEPC’s Lands and Buildings Committee and a government-backed but illegitimate committee.

In March 2013, the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments authorised the illegitimate committee, which was convened in violation of church procedure, to act on the SEPC’s behalf. The legitimate church committee, led by Mr Obid, was elected in accordance to the church rules. However, and despite an August 2015 ruling in its favour by the Khartoum Administrative Court, it has been unable to resume its work because it lacks formal recognition from the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments.

Despite this interference in church affairs, the Sudanese government has attempted to portray the dispute as an internal church matter.

Since being recognised by the government in March 2013, the illegitimate committee has attempted to seize control of church affairs, and has sold church properties to private investors.

Mr Obid and Reverend William were initially questioned and arrested in April 2016; however, their trial began officially in January 2017. The case was initiated by the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments, which accused the men of falsely presenting themselves as members of the legitimate SEPC Land and Buildings Committee.

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RELIGIOUS LEADERS UNJUSTLY CONVICTED AMID GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN CHURCH AFFAIRS: Two leaders of the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church (SEPC) were unjustly convicted on 30 October of criminal misappropriation and criminal trespass.Mr Rafat Obid, chairman of the SEPC Lands and Buildings Committee and Reverend Daniel William, deputy chairman of the same committee, were found guilty by a court in Khartoum, and were both required to pay a fine of 5000 Sudanese pounds (SDGs) each (approximately US $750).The case against the men stems from a dispute between the SEPC’s Lands and Buildings Committee and a government-backed but illegitimate committee.In March 2013, the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments authorised the illegitimate committee, which was convened in violation of church procedure, to act on the SEPC’s behalf. The legitimate church committee, led by Mr Obid, was elected in accordance to the church rules. However, and despite an August 2015 ruling in its favour by the Khartoum Administrative Court, it has been unable to resume its work because it lacks formal recognition from the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments.Despite this interference in church affairs, the Sudanese government has attempted to portray the dispute as an internal church matter