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Sudan upholds officers’ death sentences for killing activist

By AFP - Feb 16,2021 - Last updated at Feb 16,2021

KHARTOUM — Sudan’s supreme court has upheld death sentences for 29 intelligence officers for torturing and killing a teacher arrested during anti-government protests that toppled Omar Al Bashir, a prosecution lawyer said on Tuesday.

Ahmed Al Khair, 36, died in custody in February 2019 following his arrest for participating in demonstrations triggered by economic hardship in the eastern state of Kassala.

His killing sparked wide public outcry, fuelling further mass protests, and the army eventually ousted Bashir in April 2019.

“This week’s ruling by the supreme court confirmed the December 2019 death sentences of 29 intelligence officers,” lawyer Adel Abdelghani told AFP, adding the men “could still appeal the ruling before the constitutional court”.

The court also upheld sentences on three others, sentenced to three years for their role. Five others were acquitted, he added.

Sudan is now ruled by a joint civilian and military sovereign council, and Bashir has been in custody in Khartoum’s high security Kober prison since he was deposed.

Bashir was convicted in December 2019 for corruption, and has been on trial since July 2020 for the Islamist-backed 1989 coup which brought him to power.

Proceedings have been repeatedly delayed, and on Tuesday, a judge adjourned the trial to February 23.

If convicted, Bashir and other co-accused — including former top officials — could face death by hanging.

Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during in the western Darfur region.

Sudanese authorities have been in talks with the ICC over options for trying Bashir and others for their role in the fighting, which left 300,000 people dead.

 

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