It was supposed to be a four-day visit to Sudan. It turned into a 445-day imprisonment, sometimes alongside hardened ISIS fighters. Release’s Jack Norman reviews Petr Jasek’s inspiring new book.
How do you prepare to be imprisoned with a group of ISIS terrorists who celebrate wildly when told of the beheading of a Christian in Nigeria?
How do you prepare for the beatings these same ISIS members inflict on you as they threaten to kill you in your cell?
This is the extreme situation described by Petr Jasek in his remarkable new book Imprisoned with ISIS.
Petr, from the Czech Republic, was working for Release’s associate ministry Voice of the Martyrs USA, leading their ministry in Africa.
In December 2015 he undertook a short visit to Khartoum, capital of Sudan, then under the repressive rule of President al-Bashir. His brutal regime intimidated, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured Christians – as well as demolishing and bombing church buildings.
Just before leaving the country, Petr was stopped at the airport by security officials who confiscated his laptop, phone and camera – and detained him for questioning.
Later, his interrogators showed him photos of each meeting he had arranged during his visit – revealing that he had been under surveillance from the moment he arrived.
Petr was charged with espionage, waging war against the state and undermining the constitution. After a six-month trial, he was sentenced to life in prison.
This fast-moving and compelling book describes his 445 days of imprisonment. For some of this time he was kept in a dirty, crowded cell with ISIS militants who regularly humiliated and beat him.
‘Each time I was slapped, punched, kicked, or ridiculed, I thought of Christ and what He patiently endured at the hands of the Roman soldiers.’
At other times Petr was able to share the gospel with fellow prisoners – on one occasion seeing 12 Eritrean men accept Christ as their Saviour.
Throughout the book, Petr tells how God had been graciously preparing him for this ordeal. In May 2013, for example, nearly three years before his arrest, God gave Petr a powerful dream of his eventual imprisonment, ‘the most vivid and disturbing of my life‘.
As a teenager, Petr had devoured Richard Wurmbrand’s book In God’s Underground, which describes his imprisonment and torture in Romania. ‘It would become the second-most important book in my life after the Bible,‘ he writes.
Although we may never walk in Petr’s shoes, we can all be encouraged by his experience of God’s faithfulness.
Petr trusted God, even in the darkest moments – a God who knows what it is to walk the way of suffering.
While at times a harrowing read, I was inspired to see how God gave Petr courage thoughout – before opening the prison doors to set him free.
YOU CAN ORDER A COPY OF PETR’S BOOK FROM OUR eSTORE
Imprisoned with ISIS is available from Release at the discounted price of £15 including P&P.
You can order the book online from our eStore or by calling our office on: 01689 823491.
If you would like to know more about Petr’s story you can watch our Facebook Live event – In Conversation With: Petr Jasek which can now be seen on our YouTube Channel below.
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