Evangelical groups across the United States are asking the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to stand up for persecution of Christians and others in Sudan.

“Sudan’s discriminatory laws restrict the freedoms of minority groups and deprives them of their constitutional rights,” states the lettersigned by the Rev. Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse relief organization, and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, of which Russell Moore is president.

The letter details many of the restrictions on worship that Christians face living in Sudan. For example, they cannot rebuild churches demolished by government officials.

“There is no possibility of the demolished churches being replaced since in July 2014, Sudan’s Minister for Religious Guidance and Endowments announced that the government would no longer issue permits for the building of new churches, stating that existing churches were sufficient for the Christian population living in Sudan following the secession of South Sudan in 2011,” the letter says.

Groups are also not allowed to assemble in public without government permission, so Sudanese Christians cannot gather to worship.

The country also has an apostasy law, where any Muslim who declares publicly that she or he adopts any religion other than Islam can be found guilty and could be punished by death.

In 2014, Meriam Ibrahim was charged with apostasy and sentenced to death by hanging for refusing to renounce her faith. She gave birth in prison and was released only after extensive international pressure.

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