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Sudan Drops Death Sentences against Eight Rebels

Sudan Drops Death Sentences against Eight Rebels

Friday, 20 September, 2019 - 06:45
Mass protests in Khartoum demanding speedy trial of former regime figures, EPA
Khartoum - Mohammed Amin Yassin
Sudan’s 11-member Sovereignty Council issued a host of decisions among which was reversing death sentences of eight Sudan Liberation Movement rebels headed by Abdel Wahid.

This came as thousands of dissatisfied Sudanese took to the street at the justice ministry building in Khartoum in demand of former regime figures being held responsible for crimes they committed since they rose to power after a military junta in 1989.

Sudanese authorities are holding several key Islamist regime leaders at Khartoum’s Central Prison in without pressing charges, including former Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, National Congress Party Vice President Ahmed Haroun, and leader Awad al-Jaz.

Ousted President Omar al-Bashir, on the other hand, is being tried on charges related to corruption and money laundering.

As for annulling death sentences against eight rebels from Darfur, the move is said to be aimed at “building confidence” with armed groups as new authorities attempt to bring peace to the war-torn region.

The country's ruling sovereign council said it had also ordered the release of several other rebels who had previously battled government forces in Darfur.

The eight whose death sentences were canceled are from the Sudan Liberation Army - Abdel Wahid group, sovereign council member Mohamed Al-Faki said in a statement.

It was unclear when they had been sentenced and on what charges.

The council also ordered the release of 18 imprisoned Darfur rebels, Faki said.

The decisions aim to "build confidence with the armed groups" and were part of a deal reached in South Sudan last week, he said.

Armed groups from the three areas held talks in Juba that ended in the signing of a deal on "pre-negotiation principles" with Khartoum.

For years, Sudan had witnessed deadly conflicts in three regions of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan between former president Omar Al-Bashir's forces and ethnic minority rebel groups, with tens of thousands of people killed.

Rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan fought alongside the south for independence, but were left north of the border in 2011 and have continued their insurgency against Khartoum.

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