Sudan President Pardons Czech Missionary

SMC-

President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan pardoned Czech missionary and filmmaker, Petr Jasek, who was sentenced to life in prison last January for spying against the Sudan.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek has arrived in Khartoum on Sunday for talks on bilateral relations.

In December 2015, Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested Jasek four days after he entered Sudan carrying two bags containing a laptop, mobile phone, video camera besides other documents. He was charged with espionage, waging war against the state and inciting hatred against religious congregations,

On 29 January, a Sudanese court sentenced Jasek to life imprisonment for spying against the Sudan and disseminating reports – via an “American organisation hostile to Sudan” – including alleged persecution of Christians in the country, and the bombardment of civilian populated areas in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan State.

In a joint press conference with Zaoralek, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said President al-Bashir has released Jasek “in appreciation for the historic relations between Sudan and the Czech republic”.

“Al-Bashir has taken into account the bilateral ties between the two nations, and the Czech Foreign Minister would receive the Czech citizen and he will leave for his country today,” said Ghanodur

He wished that the visit of the Czech top diplomat would be “a start of a distinct relation between the two countries”.

For his part, Zaoralek expressed his delight, saying “I’m pleased to witness the end of the unpleasant case of the Chezh citizen”.

“My visit to Sudan is a beginning of a new page in relations between the two countries,” he said

“During my talks with all Sudanese officials I underscored my country’s desire to promote relations with Sudan in all fields,” he added.

It is noteworthy that the Czech minister has conveyed to Sudan’s First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Salih a message of thanks from the Czech government for the release of Jasek.