SUDANESE SLAVE 'CRUCIFIED' BY HIS MASTER NOT UNUSUAL IN CENTRAL AFRICAN NATION
But Christian Teen Rescued, Redeemed, Still Lives With Scars; Evidence Exists Of Others Sentenced To Crucifixion By Khartoum Government
By Michael Ireland Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
KHARTOUM, SUDAN (ANS) -- After being nailed to a board by his master and left for dead -- the last in a series of torturous acts -- a Sudanese Dinka boy escaped from his bondage and lived to tell his horrific story.
today. Credit: Persecution Project Foundation).
The story of "Joseph," a Christian, is told in a recent newsletter of the Persecution Project Foundation, an organization that monitors Christian persecution in Africa, reports WorldNetDaily.net.
PPF's Brad Phillips recently returned from visiting Joseph, who originally was sold into slavery at age 7 in 1987.
"I had the privilege of spending a day with this amazing boy who is now called Joseph," Phillips wrote. "I spoke with him, I interviewed him, I saw his scars, and I saw his eyes. What I saw moved me, and still haunts me."
Phillips explained that since the 1980s, the Muslim National Islamic Front government has sanctioned the taking of Christians and animists from the south part of the nation to be sold to Muslims as slaves in the north. The two sides have been engaged in a civil war for several years.
(Pictured: Map of
Sudan. Credit: Nationmaster.com web site).
As a 7-year-old, Joseph, then called Santino Garang, was sold to his master, Ibrahim. Though Joseph was given an Arab name, Ibrahim referred to him only by the pejorative "Abid," which means black slave, writes Phillips. For ten years, Joseph remained in bondage to his master.
"During his enslavement ," Phillips wrote, "he was often beaten, tortured and abused by his Arab master. African slaves, especially Christians, are viewed as lower than animals.
"Joseph was raised Christian. His desire to worship was mocked by his master, who told him every day for 10 years that he had no business worshipping since he was of no more value than a donkey."
One Sunday morning, Joseph heard the hymn singing of a Christian service. He joined into the worship, remembering church services from when he was a young boy.
While Joseph was at church, some of the camels he was in charge of escaped, and his master flew into a rage. Ibrahim, Phillips writes, "swore he would kill Joseph and do to him what had been done to Jesus ... he would crucify him.
"After brutally beating Joseph on the head and all over his body, the master laid him out on a wooden plank. He then nailed Joseph to the plank by driving nine-inch nails through his hands,
knees and feet. He then poured acid on Joseph's legs to inflict even greater pain, and finally left him for dead."
Miraculously, Joseph did not die, even though he lay on the plank for seven days. He survived through the kindness of his master's son, who brought him food and water, and eventually took him to a medical facility.
burned legs. Credit: Persecution Project Foundation).
"In case you are wondering," wrote Phillips, "no criminal charges were brought against Joseph's master, because he acted within his 'rights' under currently practiced 'sharia law.' To say that Christians are second-class citizens in much of the Islamic world (not just the Sudan) is a cruel understatement."
After Joseph returned from the hospital, his master saw little value in him since he was crippled from the nails being driven through his knees. Joseph was "redeemed" by Christian slave redeemers who arranged his return home to his village in Bahr el Gazal.
When he arrived back in his home village, the elders thought he should have a new name, so they named him after Joseph of the Bible, who was sold into slavery but later was used mightily by God.
Phillips said: "Joseph still desperately needs your prayers. By God's grace Joseph survived kidnapping, the loss of his parents, ten years of enslavement, and near death by crucifixion. But while Joseph is free in body, he is still in great pain physically and emotionally. He bears the marks of his crucifixion in his body and the scars of his torment in his soul. He is wounded and broken in his spirit. And his is haunted by the memories of hundreds of other children from his community who perished or remained enslaved in the north.
He added: "Joseph is one of a small number of people in the 21st century who knows what it means to be crucified because of his Christian faith. But the reality is that hundreds of thousands of our fellow Christians in the Sudan have been enslaved, driven from their homes, hunted and murdered by devoted followers of Islam. This war of Islamic cruelty has raged for centuries in the Sudan. Please remember our Sudanese brethren in your prayers, and do all you can to aid us in the relief of their suffering."
Crucifixion, while rare in recent times, was used at Dachau during the Holocaust and in a number of wars, such as in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and during the Sino-Japanese war, where it was used among the many methods of torture and execution used by Japanese soldiers against Chinese civilians -- largely in emulation of medieval Japanese military practices, says the website
During World War I, there were persistent rumors that German soldiers had crucified an Allied (Canadian) soldier on a tree or barn door with bayonets or combat knives, the website says. The event was initially reported in 1915 by private George Barrie of the Canadian First Division. After the war, investigators tried to determine the veracity of the story of the crucified soldier, but it was inconclusive.
Thenazareneway.com website reports there are persistent stories that crucifixions continue to occur in certain parts of Africa, particularly in Sudan.
Amnesty International reported on August 22, 2002 its “grave concern that time was running out for 88 people, including two children, sentenced to death by hanging or crucifixion in Sudan, for their alleged role in ethnic clashes in Rizeigat, Southern Darfur.
"Everything is wrong with this case. Not only have death sentences been passed, which Amnesty International opposes unconditionally, but they were passed after an obviously unfair trial. Those sentenced include two children, despite the worldwide ban on sentencing children under the age of 18 to death," the organization said at the time.
Amnesty said that Emergency Courts, sometimes known as the "special courts" sentenced the 88 people to death by hanging or crucifixion in Nyala on 17 July 2002, on charges including murder, armed robbery and public disturbances. The charges were all related to recent clashes between the Rizeigat and Maalayia ethnic groups in Southern Darfur.
Africa Newswire Network citing IRIN, the United Nations Integrated Regonal Information Networks, from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said international human rights organizations expressed concern over the fate of 88 people, including two children, who were sentenced to death by hanging or crucifixion in Sudan's Darfur region for taking part in ethnic clashes.
The report stated the Sudanese government reportedly said it would not overturn the death sentences against the 88 people convicted of taking part in May clashes between the ethnic al-Muraalia and Reizagat tribes. At least 50 people were killed in the clashes.
According to Amnesty, the "emergency courts" sometimes known as "special courts," were established in Darfur under a 1998 state of emergency, which grants wide powers to circumvent Sudan's Criminal Procedures Act. The courts are headed by two military judges and one civilian judge and do not permit legal representation for the accused, the agency said.
The Geneva-based International Secretariat of World Organizations Against Torture (OMCT) said it was deeply concerned over the health of the detainees and the "continuing wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions" in Darfur.
In a statement, the OMCT urged the Khartoum government to carry out an impartial investigation into the "arbitrary circumstances" under which some of the prisoners were arrested and detained, as well as reports of the use of torture.
"More generally, OMCT is concerned by the reported worsening human rights situation in Darfur, which includes mass arrests, harsh detention conditions and the continuing persecution of the people from the African tribes native to the region," it added.
"The government of Sudan must now ensure that the sentences are not carried out," Amnesty International said. "It should put an end to this cruelty."
Paul H. Liben contributed the article "Science Within the Limits of Truth" to the December 1991 issue of First Things, the Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, which was posted to the Firsthings.com website.
He said Jubilee Campaign, a Christian human rights organization, noted "mounting evidence of the crucifixion of the male populations of entire villages."
When the Vatican protested in 1992, Khartoum replied: "The Catholic Church has become the enemy of the Sudanese government. We know how to deal with it."
Liben said: “What was meant was apparent. Last summer, according to Vatican Radio, four Catholics were arrested, flogged a hundred times, and then crucified.”
Liben wrote that according to a 1993 State Department report, the "government of Sudan forces routinely steal women and children. Some women and children are kept as wives. Others are shipped north where they perform forced labor or are exported, notably to Libya."
He said that in his scathing 1994 report to the UN Commission on Human Rights, special investigator Gaspar Biro confirmed that “the (Sudanese) north is kidnapping women and children and selling or using them as concubines or slaves. Biro also notes that the present regime allows the crucifixion of children as young as seven.”
** Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Garden Grove, CA. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in Sept., 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.