News / Africa

    Sudan Hangs 6 Squatters for Killing 13 Riot Policemen

    Sudan
    Sudan

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Interview with Amnesty International Sudan researcher Rania Rajji

    Sudan Thursday hanged six men convicted in the murder of 13 policemen five years ago during a forced eviction operation in the capital, Khartoum.  The clashes erupted in May, 2005 as police tried to empty out the Soba Aradi neighborhood that housed 10-thousand victims of Sudan’s north-south civil war. 
       
    18 months later, a Special Military Court issued the death sentence for seven defendants in the violent clashes.  Many Sudanese arrested in the riots were acquitted.  But last week, defense attorneys said the three-year appeals process for six remaining suspects had been exhausted, and they were executed on January 14.  A seventh defendant received a reduced five-year jail sentence. 
       
    Amnesty International immediately condemned the executions.  Amnesty Sudan researcher Rania Rajji charged that prosecutors had obtained forced confessions, and the judicial process did not permit any investigations or cross examination.
       
    “Amnesty International believes that their confessions were extracted under torture.  Their lawyers have tried the defense of torture against their confessions, which were used as a main element towards their sentences.  But the judges issued the dissent.  There was never an investigation into the incident to start with, so there is no way of knowing whether these people were really involved.  We think that there were unfair trials,” said Rajji.
       
    Since June, 2008, Sudan’s Special Military Courts have handed down more than 100 death sentences in trials that human rights groups say have failed to satisfy international fair trial standards.  Sudan hurriedly set up the special courts in May, 2008 to prosecute suspects accused of taking part in the May 10 attack on Khartoum by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group. 
     
    Amnesty’s Rajji says the Khartoum government has used the courts’ recently expanded power to pursue severe penalties against other offenders, including the Soba Aradi squatters, whose case began two years before the Special Military Courts came into being.
       
    “The problem with the Sudanese judicial system is that the legal battle is not really allowed.  Since 2007, the six men had been sentenced to death.  The courts only did confirm the death sentence, and the death sentence had been on hold.  And basically, the judges decided to immediately execute.  So it is always a matter of an unfair trial,” she said.
         
    Even before Sudan expedited the powers of the judiciary to convict, Rajji points out that Sudanese courts have had a long history of punishing suspects with the death sentence, and there continue to be a growing number of executions in the country.
       
    “Sudan has always been high on the list of countries executing.  There are retorts from 1997 already placing Sudan high on the list.  There has been a culture of political death sentences and executions.  You have seen over the last year that there were between June, 2008 and June, 2009 107 people who were sentenced to death in relation to the attack by the Justice and Equality Movement on Khartoum.  We believe that all of them had an unfair trial.  This is only an indication of how politicized justice is in Sudan,” she noted.

    Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (file)
    Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (file)

       
    With Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir currently under indictment by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Rania Rajji says that nations need to tighten their vigilant monitoring of Sudan’s judicial practices.  But she contends it is ultimately Sudan’s own responsibility revamp their harsh system of justice as well as to cooperate internationally by handing over all suspects accused of war crimes to the International Criminal Court.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora