Sudan sentences 27 security agents to death by hanging for killing protester
London, Dec. 30, 2019 (AltAfrica)-A Sudanese court on Monday sentenced 27 intelligence agents to death for torturing and killing a protester early this year, an AFP correspondent said.
They are to die by hanging for torturing and killing a detained protester during the uprising against longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir earlier this year.
The verdict, which can be appealed, was the first connected to the killing of more than 200 pro-democracy protesters since the demonstrations began last December.
“We are now sure our revolution is continuing on the right path,” said protester Amna Mohammed. She was among a cheering crowd of hundreds that gathered to welcome the verdict’s announcement outside the court in Omdurman, the capital Khartoum’s twin city.
The death of protester Ahmed al-Khair, a school teacher, while in detention in February was a key point — and a symbol — in the uprising that convulsed the large African country. That led, in April, to the toppling of al-Bashir, and ultimately to the creation of a joint military-civilian Sovereign Council that has committed to rebuilding the country and promises elections in three years.
The anniversary of the uprising this month drew teeming crowds to the streets in several cities and towns across the country, with people singing, dancing and carrying flags. A train packed with exuberant demonstrators, clapping and chanting, arrived in the northern city of Atbara, the birthplace of the uprising, from the capital city.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group of unions that led the protests against al-Bashir, welcomed Monday’s verdict. The group vowed to continue pursuing and bringing to justice security officials accused of torture.
Mohammed al-Feki Soliman, a member of the Sovereign Council, said the trial “renews the Sudanese people’s trust in their judicial institutions.”
Al-Khair was detained on Jan. 31 in his hometown of Kassala and was reported dead two days later. His body was taken to a local hospital where his family said it was covered in bruises. At the time, police denied any police wrongdoing and blamed his death on an “illness,” without providing any details.
Judge al-Sadik al-Amin al-Fek, however, said on Monday that the teacher was beaten and tortured while in detention. “His death was an inevitable consequence of the beating and torture,” he said.
The court also sentenced three other members of the security forces to three years each in prison, and acquitted seven suspects in the case. All the sentenced were policemen who were working in the jail where al-Khair was held or intelligence agents in the region.