This page was originally created to raise awareness about the wrongful imprisonment of Torben Sondergaard in 2022-2023. Today it serves as an archive page. Find Torben’s new website on

Official Update – May 18, 2023

This is an update for friends and supporters of imprisoned Pastor Torben Sondergaard. It has been a few months since our last update. 

Torben has now been wrongfully imprisoned for 322 days. There has been a tireless effort to secure his release by his family, friends, and legal team. But still, the immigration authorities in charge of his detention have refused to let him go and more recently claim they’ve been instructed not to communicate with Torben’s attorney. The situation is complex and in many ways unprecedented. Here is a summary of the most recent developments and multiple legal matters so you can stay informed and keep them in prayer.

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Torben’s Imprisonment and Legal Challenges

First is the matter of Torben’s imprisonment. Again, today marks 322 days he has been in prison. He is still being held in Baker County Detention Center in North Florida. And at this point, he’s been there longer than any other prisoner. Everyone else has either been released on bond, deported, granted asylum, or processed out in some way. The Office of Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement, also referred to as ICE, is the division of the Department of Homeland Security that currently has authority over Torben’s detention. Over the course of the last ten months, Torben’s attorneys have made repeated formal requests to the ICE officers in charge to reconsider their determination that he should be detained. But they refuse and have provided no valid reason for doing so. He has not been charged with any crimes and ICE has not provided any documents that indicate Torben is considered a threat to public safety or national security or would be a flight risk if released. Needless to say, further requests to these same immigration officers would be futile.

Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court

Torben’s attorneys have also asked the immigration court to take authority of his detention, but the court claims it has no jurisdiction either. The convergence of factors, including ICE’s stubborn refusal to reevaluate his detention under any condition, and the immigration court’s assertion of lacking jurisdiction results in a circumstance where a man has been held for nearly a year without any established process for considering a release. This is a grave violation of Torben’s right to due process of law, and the Constitution prevents people from being held in prolonged detention without proper cause. So two weeks ago, Torben’s legal team filed a lawsuit in federal court to petition his unlawful detention. This type of lawsuit is called a writ of habeas corpus. Torben’s Habeas lawsuit was filed on Friday, April 28th, and presented a very clear argument that his imprisonment is unlawful and includes his belief that the decision to detain him in the first place was not made according to normal standards.

Positive Decision from Federal Court and Immigration Board of Appeals’ Dismissal

Then, just one business day after the filing, the Federal Court issued a strong order requiring the Department of Homeland Security to justify itself and explain why Torben should not be released. So here you have the first time Torben’s case has been brought before a federal court, a court outside the immigration system, and he immediately receives a promising decision within one day. This is remarkable and incredibly encouraging news. However, and perhaps even more incredible is that the very next day, the Immigration Board of Appeals dismissed Torben’s appeal and his asylum case, effectively confirming the flawed decision by the first immigration judge to deny Torben’s asylum. The reasoning given for dismissing the appeal doesn’t add up, and the immigration court’s unwillingness to acknowledge the facts is deeply troubling.

Details of Torben’s Fear of Future Persecution

Here’s just one example. As we’ve previously mentioned, Torben’s appeal articulated a variety of points, but put special emphasis on how the first immigration judge failed to address his primary claim for not being able to safely return to his home country. Torben’s claim does not rely on the atrocious persecution he experienced in the past, as those who accused him of lying on his asylum application incorrectly assumed. Torben’s primary claim is based on an element of immigration law called the well-founded fear of future persecution. This has always been the case, but the general public would not know since these details have been confidentially protected in his filings. Torben’s fear of future persecution is valid and well-founded. Here are some facts Torben’s attorneys presented to the immigration authorities.

When Torben was still living in Denmark on January 9th, 2019, a politician from Denmark’s leading government party, in a speech before the Committee on Legal Affairs, talked about Torben’s ministry and exorcism. Torben’s ministry was categorized as part of a group of radicals exploiting the free churches, and his deliverance ministry was referred to as, quote, mental assault. This Danish politician during a public session of parliament used these claims about Torben’s ministry as his main argument to introduce a provision of law that opened the door for Torben to be criminally liable for engaging in deliverance ministry. The politician said, quote: “We on the left believe that the law which is intended to criminalize psychological violence and psychological violence with physical violence is a major step in the right direction, of which we can all be proud. And it is probably one of the things I have been most pleased about in this Parliament. However, we have an addition to the law that we hope Parliament will support. Many of you may have watched the documentary God’s Best Children and seen how a preacher commits demon exorcisms in front of trembling and crying children. And we on the left agree with the Children’s Union that this kind of behavior can be described as psychological abuse that can leave children with serious trauma. For us, it is important to clarify that the law also applies to radical religious communities that exploit the existence of the free Church and carry out psychological violence on children in the form of demon exorcisms”.

The Politician’s speech is a direct reference to Torben’s presence in the documentary God’s Best Children where a child in underwear was crying because, as falsely portrayed by the producers, the child had witnessed the deliverance by Torben. The truth of what happened with that child is entirely different. A link to the true story from that scene in the documentary is included below.

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So imagine a politician from Denmark’s leading political parties singles out Torben on the floor of Parliament, claiming Torben’s expression of faith is committing damage equal to physical violence. He closes by clarifying that the new law, which is a punishment of up to three years in prison, applies to ministries like Torben’s. After all Torben and his family had been through the threats, the government harassment, the defamation, and the vicious cancel culture campaign, this was the last straw. Torben received a phone call from a friend who warned him of the government’s intention to have him arrested. And he did what any responsible husband and father would do. He gathered his family and they fled.

And it turns out that Torben was wise to leave when he did. Soon after Torben arrived in the US, the Danish Criminal Code was changed to include the new law on mental violence. The sequence of events is one of many factors of Torben’s story that satisfy what immigration law calls the well-founded fear of future persecution. A law was passed in Denmark that could send Torben to prison for doing ministry, plain and simple. The bill was lobbied into law using Torben and his ministry as the primary example for the need for such a change to the Criminal Code. If Torben were to return to Denmark and continue to practice his Christian faith, which includes the same bold street preaching and setting captives free, he would be at risk of arrest. The first immigration judge ignored this primary aspect of Torben’s fear of future persecution. The only way for him to deny the asylum claim was to omit these facts.

However, the Board of Appeals did not have the same luxury and was forced to address the first judge’s errors. But the reasoning is nonsensical. One section of the Board of Appeals decision reads, quote: “To the extent Mr. Sondergaard contends that he would be charged with a crime for practicing his religion, we disagree. The Department of Homeland Security argued that the applicant would not be prosecuted under the law unless he’s alleged to violate it at some point in the future,” end quote. In other words, the appellate judges are basically saying if Torben were to return to Denmark, he will not be in danger if he simply avoids violating the new law, which would require him to stop practicing his Christian faith. Does that sound like religious freedom? How do these immigration judges get away with this circular reasoning? It’s like a dog chasing its tail. At times, the most rational explanation begs the question: Is there some sort of power and influence outside the law at play or maybe even political pressure to expel Torben? After all, the Department of Homeland Security recently identified Christians who believe in ‘end times prophecies’ as potential threats to national security, and even went as far as naming pro-life mothers as potential radicalization suspects. Could Torben’s case be caught up in something much larger than we think?

Regardless of how broken the immigration court system is or what politics might be at play here, Torben still has one more opportunity to fight his asylum case, and he is not giving up. With the appeal dismissed, Torben now enters into a critical 30-day countdown to exhaust the few remaining legal options he has to prevent being deported. The immigration court process has been exhausted, and now Torben is able to bring his asylum case before the federal court system where the facts of his case will be reviewed by judges that are not part of the immigration system. We cannot share the contents of Torben’s asylum application yet, but it is extremely well-documented. It’s meritorious and clearly shows that he is qualified under the law to be granted asylum in the United States. The legal team has only a few short weeks to prepare and file these legal actions, and Torben hopes his case will be treated with fairness. We will be providing updates on this in the coming weeks. Please be praying for all the parties involved, from attorneys to judges.

Paul May Defamation Case

In addition to the immigration case, you may recall, we shared about a defamation case Torben filed in North Carolina against one of his former students, Paul Philip May. Evidence detailed in the complaint in that case supports that Paul May communicated with the Department of Homeland Security and made false allegations that Torben had lied on his asylum application, committing the crime of perjury, that he was working without proper work permits, and that he was running a financial scam aimed to con Christian followers. Additionally, Paul May has claimed Torben was laundering millions in cash, committed tax evasion, and even accused him of raping a young woman in Denmark. He repeatedly promised his online audience that he will be presenting evidence of his accusations in upcoming videos, but to date has failed to do that. That case is ongoing and out of respect for the process, we will not be providing any details other than to say that the defendant, Paul May, was recently ordered to sit for a deposition. 

The deposition took two days, and under oath and penalty of perjury, Paul May confirmed that European nationals and an Orlando-based ICE officer were his main sources of information about Torben. He confirmed that Torben has influential enemies in Europe that coordinated and executed a campaign to convince its law enforcement that Torben was a ‘dangerous criminal’. According to Paul May, those enemies were providing information directly to the Department of Homeland Security, within just a few weeks of Torben’s arrival in the United States back in January of 2019. He also claimed those European nationals hired private investigators in the US who were gathering information on Torben secretly attending his ministry events and subsequently passing reports to law enforcement.

When asked if he had any evidence to support his numerous accusations that Torben had committed crimes, he said ‘no’. Paul May’s legal counsel has requested to have access to a wide range of documentation regarding the Last Reformation, its ministry, its finances, and corporate structure. TLR has happily agreed to share that information with Paul May’s legal counsel, so they can see that the allegations made on Paul’s YouTube channel, website, and directly to US law enforcement were bogus.

Lastly, many, including Paul May, have accused Torben of lying on his asylum application. That was puzzling at first, especially since none of the people making that claim had actually seen Torben’s application. But in context, it now makes more sense. It seems clear there was a coordinated campaign in Denmark to destroy Torben and his ministry. That campaign was nearly successful in getting him arrested, but thankfully, Torben wisely came to the US to seek safety. And so now those same enemies and the proxies they influence are motivated to see Torben’s asylum claim be denied so he will be sent back to Denmark and they can attempt to pick up where they left off. That is what this effort to block the asylum is all about.

Call for Support and Conclusion

As you can see, the Lord in His perfect timing is revealing the truth of what has taken place in secret over the past many years, and we believe he will continue to do so. Torben will be freed, and his name will be cleared. Thank you for taking the time to listen today. We will continue to update on Torben’s story. The financial contributions to Torben’s Defense Fund are gratefully appreciated. This effort to defend Torben would not be possible without your support. Please visit our donation page if you feel led to continue supporting his legal defense or want to write Torben a letter.


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