News / Africa

Sudan Hangs 6 Squatters for Killing 13 Riot Policemen

Sudan
Sudan

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with Amnesty International Sudan researcher Rania Rajji

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid