In December 2015, Czech-born Christian aid worker Petr Jasek went on a 4-day visit to Sudan to check on burned church buildings and persecuted Christians. But what was intended as a brief stay turned into a life sentence for spying and an eventual 445 days in prison with hardened IS fighters as his cell mates.
Jasek’s story is told in his new book, Imprisoned with Isis. The Korean language edition was released this week by Voice of the Martyrs Korea and is available at https://vomkorea.com/product/iwi-en/.
Petr Jasek shown here in prison in Sudan with some of his fellow prisoners, Sudanese pastors.
“For 20 years, Petr Jasek coordinated Voice of the Martyrs’ assistance to persecuted Christians throughout Africa,” says Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley. “He was the son of persecuted Christian parents who had grown up under communism in the former Czechoslovakia, and so he was especially well suited to serve underground believers.”
Representative Foley says that Jasek had coordinated nearly 300 projects in 27 African countries, frequently traveling to the countries to interview persecuted brothers and sisters and arrange projects for their health. Representative Foley says that Jasek had visited Sudan many times, but in December 2015, after one particular 4-day visit in which he met persecuted believers and visited burned down church buildings, he was stopped by the secret police at the airport even after he had been issued the boarding pass for his flight home. Jasek’s phone, camera, and laptop were confiscated, and he was interrogated for nearly 24 hours at the headquarters of the secret police. After that, says Representative Foley, he was put into the first of five prisons in which he would be confined over the following 445 days. Jasek was ultimately sentenced to life in prison for alleged spy activity.
“Imprisoned with ISIS is an amazing true story, one that Voice of the Martyrs Korea is excited to be able to bring to Korean readers” says Representative Foley. “On the one hand, it is a story of great suffering: Petr lost 25 kg within the first three months through internal bleeding. He was in a cell with six members of Islamic State, from Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Egypt, and Pakistan. He was denied all contact with the outside world. And yet it is a story of great encouragement. Petr was able to lead many of his fellow prisoners to Christ. He learned personally what scripture means when it says that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. And he is able to testify how God used the prayers of believers around the world to keep him alive and even help him to sleep and experience peace. Petr says, ‘God had a purpose for my imprisonment.’ And Petr believes that when that purpose was complete, God opened the door and had him released.”
Representative Foley notes that today, Jasek serves as VOM’s global ambassador, traveling around the world to tell his story and to encourage Christians to remember those who are in prison for their faith through prayer, financial support, and other action projects coordinated by Voice of the Martyrs.
“Whenever I was transferred to a different prison in Sudan, I was heavily chained on my arms and legs and six heavily-armed soldiers accompanied me,” says Petr Jasek, who appeared at a press conference for Korean reporters via Zoom on Thursday. Petr Jasek says that it was during those times he was reminded of II Timothy 2:9 which says, “Even though I am bound as a criminal, the Word of God is not bound.”
Voice of the Martyrs Korea is an NGO which ministers to persecuted Christians worldwide.