Late in 2015 Petr Jasek went to Sudan on behalf of Voice of the Martyrs to serve hurting people in the name of Jesus Christ. He was arrested then charged with conspiring against the Sudanese government.
“They started to slap to my face, I was hit with the fist into my face many times. I got hit with a wooden stick either on my head, shoulders, my fingers or they kicked my stomach with this rod.”
Jesus never promised His followers an easy path. In fact, He told his disciples the world would hate them. He sent them out as sheep among wolves. Jesus’ words came true in the lives of the apostles and are still coming true today in the lives of His followers around the world.
Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs Radio travelled to meet up with Petr Jasek and recorded an interview with him after he was released from serving 14 months in Sudanese prisons. Here is an excerpt from that interview.
Todd Nettleton: Welcome to The Voice of the Martyrs Radio. My name is Todd Nettleton and I am sitting down with Petr Jasek. Petr was just released about a week and a half ago from prison in Sudan where he served 14 months. We could talk about Petr while he was in prison and encourage you to pray for him and pray for his family, pray for those men who were imprisoned with him.
Petr Jasek: It is my pleasure to be invited to speak about my experiences with the Lord. It is a real joy. First of all, I would like to thank you all, the supporters who were supporting me in prayers, not only me but also the brothers who were arrested and imprisoned, eventually even sentenced with me in Sudan.
Todd Nettleton: I want to talk first here Petr about the situation. Getting arrested, obviously you have been working for VOM a long time, you have travelled in and out of hostile and restricted nations, but this story kind of goes back to October 2015, there is a meeting in Addis Ababa that you went to. What was the focus of that meeting and why were you there?
Petr Jasek: On 19-23 October 2015, there was a conference in Addis Ababa about Sudan. I don’t remember exactly what the name was, but basically it was meeting fellowship of the Sudanese Christians from their expats and from various mission workers that came to meet those people that they had already known.
Arrested at the airport as a spy
At the airport, immigration staff found the duplicate passport Petr always carried for security purposes. He was immediately arrested and taken to prison as the immigration staff now suspected Petr was a spy. Petr was facing an extremely difficult situation as he was unable to inform his family or the Embassy of his arrest.
Petr Jasek: I arrived at this cell at about 1:30am, so this is a time when under normal circumstances people would sleep. The guards when they opened the cell and put me in the cell basically all these people woke up because of me. This is the first unpleasant thing when people get woken up at night. The whole floor was already occupied by them, so they had to squeeze a little bit so they would create some small room for me to lie down on the floor. There was only one bed that was already occupied by the oldest serving prisoner in the cell. They just made a little space on the floor. I had no blanket; I only had a few pieces of clothes, like two extra T-shirts and one extra pants and a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap; that was all. They showed me the small space on the floor and said, “Just lay down here.” One of the guys, he spoke some English, said, “Lay down here and cover with your other T-shirts.
Later on I tried to ask the guards when they came again, because I saw that all the other people had blankets, some of them even had mattresses and they said, “No, no, you will not get any blanket because you are from Czech Republic and you are used to cold weather. You should be all right.” They did not give me any blankets so I laid down on the floor tiles, so it was very cold. I tried to fall asleep. I was not really sleeping, just kind of thinking a lot about the situation, but maybe later I got some sleep but very early in the morning while it was still dark, sometime like 5:30am was the first azan for the call for prayer. After that, immediately all the people started to wake up and I had to wake up as well for them to make room in this small cell for them to pray.
Todd Nettleton: So the call to prayer sounds, all six of your cellmates are suddenly praying fervently and you realise, “Okay, every one of these guys is apparently a pretty serious Muslim, I am a Christian, how is this going to go?” Were you starting to worry? Did you feel fearful or did you just think, “Okay, Lord, we are going to need some help.”
Petr Jasek: I have travelled a lot to the Muslim countries so I anticipated that all of them would be Muslims, so I was not afraid. They told me or showed me a place behind them where I was supposed to stand while they were praying. The rule is that me as a Christian, I had to stay behind them so they would not look at me while they are praying. So I respected that and was standing behind them while they were praying. They said that they are DAESH. When they say that they are very proud of it that they are DAESH.
Todd Nettleton: Just for our listeners, DAESH is the Arabic acronym for ISIS. So these are ISIS fighters that are in the prison.
In prison with terrorists
Petr Jasek: Even though I had been already limited a lot and treated not very nicely by the DAESH people at that time, because of this type of prayer, two days later they started to openly torture me and beat me. They let me, for instance, sit with crossed legs in one place for like several hours. They asked me to stand in one place of a long time. Later on they started to slap me into my face. I was hit with their fists into my face many times. Then they let me sit on the floor and they started to ask me various questions.
First of all, they called me, “filthy pig” or “filthy rat.” When they called me and said, “Filthy pig, come here.” I decided at first I would not respond to these rude names and when I did not respond I got hit with a wooden stick they unscrewed from the sweeper that was there to clean the floor. Whenever I did not respond immediately to these new names, “filthy pig” or “filthy rat,” they immediately hit me either on my head, my shoulders or my fingers or they kicked me into my stomach with this rod. This started to be open attack on my body. At that time I was really thinking about the Lord Jesus what He had to go through when He was arrested and they also were beating Him with wooden stick and were ridiculing Him, slapping Him. I could clearly see the Lord Jesus and how He suffered for us.
A peace beyond understanding
For me, I received a wonderful peace at that time and surprisingly, when I was physically attacked I was experiencing the greatest peace in prison time ever, all these 14-1/2 months. I could even pray during these beatings for my family members, I could pray for other fellow prisoners and I was not moved to the point when I used to be before, because I had this peace from the Lord at this time of the physical attacks on my body.
They also were kicking me with their legs, with shoes on, so I had bruises on my back that I realised later on. When I was supposed to look into the toilet sink and they realised by my face I was in the toilet but I was not looking in the sink they were very angry and one of the guys kicked the door and the door hit my elbow and it was very painful. I thought some of my bones were broken but it was only bruised.
I see it clearly now when I look back that when I was exalting and glorifying the Lord’s name they were furious, they became very furious, especially the fact that I was not retaliating the hits, the slaps or being beaten by the wooden stick, they became more and more furious. Eventually they decided to torture me even in much worse way.
To hear the full audio story from Petr visit VOM Radio at www.VOMRadio.net/Petr.