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Police beat, arrest church leader, evangelist in Sudancomment (0)

February 2, 2012

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Police in January beat and arrested a church leader in Khartoum, sources said. Evangelist James Kat of the Evangelical Church of Sudan was arrested Jan. 17, with officers beating him as they took him to a North Division police station, the sources said.

He was released on bail the same day. Kat, who lives at the church site, was apparently arrested for using the place as his home. Another church leader was arrested Jan. 16 in a Sudanese Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) property dispute in which police and courts have been unjustly biased in favor of Muslims, Christian leaders said. Officers arrested SPEC worker Gabro Haile Selassie, as he lives on the church property that has been transferred to a Muslim businessman in a disputed agreement; he has refused to be evicted without police providing him an official document indicating the basis for the action.

Selassie, who was released on bail after a few hours, said he fears being arrested again; officers have already started demolishing the church compound fence, Selassie added. “They will definitely demolish my house,” he said. Armed police were deployed Jan.15 to the site to take the property by force, as authorities are supporting Muslim businessman Osman al Tayeb’s efforts to take control of the plot as part of a planned confiscation of church property, church leaders said.

“The government is still trying to get involved in the affairs of the church by supporting people like Osman al Tayeb,” said one church leader.

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