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Praying Christians flogged and imprisoned in Sudan

The leaders of ten Christian denominations have protested to the Sudanese premier for the treatment of Christians over the Easter period.

More than 100 worshippers were arrested and given harsh sentences following unrest sparked by the cancellation of an inter-denominational open-air Easter service.

This was followed on Easter Monday by an attack by the Sudanese airforce on an aircraft carrying the Bishop of El Obeid, Macram Max Gassis.

The Khartoum regime has long seen the bishop as an obstacle to their efforts to depopulate and demoralise the largely Christian population of the resource-rich Nuba region.

The UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide pointed out that Article 24 of Sudan's 1998 Constitution provides for freedom of religion and creed and guarantees religious co-existence.

Following the threat of violence, church leaders decided to cancel the interdenominational service, but several Christians were not aware of the change and gathered in Green Square as previously advertised. Police used teargas and force to disperse them. One church leader said the police seemed drugged "they were wild, their mouths were dry and they looked very hungry".