Rep. Garrett instrumental in securing release of imprisoned Czech missionary
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday Petr Jasek, a Czech national who was sentenced to twenty-two years in a Sudanese prison, was freed and has arrived safely in Prague.
Initially, Jasek was arrested on charges of “espionage,” among other accusations. The case sparked international outrage when details emerged that Jasek was on a missionary trip and was arrested after filming Sudanese government officials persecuting Christians. Two other local Sudanese pastors were arrested and sentenced to ten years as accomplices to Jasek.
In early February, several constituents made Rep. Garrett aware of this grave human rights issue. In the ensuing weeks, Rep. Garrett held meetings with the ambassadors from The Czech Republic and The Sudan with his Sudanese Embassy visit marking the first by a U.S. Congressman in a decade.
Last week, Rep. Garrett was part of a Congressional delegation to Germany and spent the week with members of the German Bundestag to discuss immigration and refugee issues and their national economic and security impact. His schedule also included a meeting with the Czech Deputy Foreign Minister in Prague to further discuss Mr. Jasek’s case. This information was not released publicly at the time for fear of disrupting negotiations for the release of Mr. Jasek.
Upon release of the first three prisoners, Rep. Garrett issued the following statement:
“This unfortunate case has unfolded for over a year and I am happy to report that within a week of our meetings with these respective countries, Mr. Jasek was released. I commend each of these nations for working on a swift release and look forward to continuing my role in the negotiations to overturn the imprisonment of the remaining two Sudanese pastors and provide them refugee status under the J-2 visa program.”
Pictured is Rep. Garrett with Czech Deputy Foreign Minister during last week's visit to Prague.