A Sudanese court has on Monday sentenced 29 intelligence officers to death for torturing and killing a teacher in detention earlier this year, during protests against Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s longtime former leader.
The judge, Sadok Abdelrahman said the school teacher, Ahmed al-Khair was beaten and tortured to death after he was arrested in late January by intelligence operatives in Sudan’s eastern province of Kassala, hence the defendants were found guilty of deadly abuse against Al-Khair and sentenced to be hanged.
36-year-old Al-Khair died in custody in February following his arrest for taking part in protests against then President Omar al-Bashir’s government.
Monday’s convictions and sentences at the Omdurman court, which can be appealed, were the first connected to the killings of protesters in the revolt.
The judge after the sentencing, asked al-Khair’s brother, Sa’d, whether he wanted the 29 men to be pardoned – but he said he wanted them to be executed instead
The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group of unions that led the protests against al-Bashir, welcomed the 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 verdict “renews the Sudanese people’s trust in their judicial institutions.”
Another four officers were sentenced to three years in prison and seven were acquitted in the landmark ruling, which paves the way for democratic transition in the North African nation.
Since last December, at least 200 protesters have been killed in Sudan. The government recently appointed independent judges to oversee investigations into the killings, a major achievement for the protest movement.
The International Criminal Court has two outstanding warrants for al-Bashir’s arrest on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The warrants were issued in 2009 and 2010, but Bashir has not been extradited to The Hague
Zambian Police Arrest 16 Suspects After Chemical Attacks
Zambia police said on Thursday, they have arrested 16 persons suspected of being behind a spate of attacks in which people were sprayed with poisonous substances that have caused some deaths.
The attacks began in December and were initially confined to the mineral-rich copperbelt. They have since spread to the capital Lusaka. Police are still trying to pinpoint the exact number of victims.
Last week, president Edgar Lungu ordered soldiers to join the police in patrolling the streets after the attacks, that have sparked public outrage.
Britain and the United States have issued travel alerts to their citizens following the attacks.
Lesotho PM Misses Court Date Over Wife’s Death
Lesotho’s prime minister Thomas Thabane, who was accused of killing his wife and was due in court for hearing on Friday, did not show up. Police said they were unsure of his whereabouts.
Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead in June 2017 near her home in the capital, Maseru, two days before the minister took office.
Thabane’s current wife, Maesaiah, has also been charged with ordering Lipolelo’s murder. She is currently out on bail.
The prime minister bowed to pressure and announced on Thursday he would step down in July. Both Maesaiah and Thomas Thabane, who married two months after Lipolelo’s killing, have denied any involvement in her death.
Authorities say the prime minister’s whereabouts are unknown. Some even suggest he might have fled the country.
South Sudan President, Rebel Leader Agrees To Form Unity Government
South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with president Salva Kiir by Saturday’s deadline, following talks at state house on Thursday.
President Kiir has promised protection for opposition leaders. Machar’s allies had sought assurances for his safety should he formally return to the capital.
Kiir said the main issues which have not been resolved, such as how he and Machar would share the power, and how opposing forces will be unified, are set to be addressed and finalized in coming days.
There are expectations the deal will bring an end to South Sudan’s devastating six-year civil war, which has killed some 400,000 persons.
Before the announcement, it had been unclear if the deadline would be met as key benchmarks of the 2018 peace agreement had not been fulfilled. The deadline had elapsed several times without an agreement between the two sides.
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