As the anniversary of the killing of 21 peaceful protesters in Port Sudan's Deim El Arab district in Red Sea state by government forces on January 29 2005, the families of the massacre have criticised the Constitutional Court for delaying the appeal against the authorities' refusal to include the files of the previous investigation into the case.
On January 29 2005, government forces violently quelled a demonstration calling on Khartoum to allocate more resources to the marginalised region inhabited by the Beja tribe. In addition to the 21 people killed, popularly referred to as “martyrs”, more than 400 protesters, among them women and children, were injured. Hundreds of demonstrators were detained.
For years, Beja leaders called for the prosecution of the forces who killed the demonstrators to no avail. The annual commemoration of the massacre was sometimes banned as well.
After the Constitutional Court decided positively on the lawyers’ request for a new investigation in late 2015, the authorities in Port Sudan agreed in October 2016 to reopen the file. The prosecutor agreed to request the Defence and Interior Ministers to lift the immunity enjoyed by members of the regular armed forces. Yet, he refused to add the files of a previous investigation into the incident to the case.
Najla Mohamed Ali, the lawyer of the victims' families, told Radio Dabanga this week that the Constitutional Court has not yet adjudicated the appeal filed since April 2017.
She explained that last year, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General refused to address the Ministries of Defence and Interior to include the files of the investigation of the case under the pretext of confidentiality of the files.
She explained that the required files contain the names of the perpetrators.
She called on the Constitutional Court to expedite the adjudication of the appeal so that the relatives of the victims can appeal the litigation.
Preparations have been completed in Red Sea state to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of the Port Sudan massacre that claimed the lives of 21 residents.
Ibrahim Omar, member of the High Committee of the Martyrs of January 29, told Radio Dabanga from Port Sudan that the committee annually commemorates the occasion in solidarity with the families of the martyrs. Omar said the event will be held in the Martyrs Square in Port Sudan on Monday.
He called on all the residents of the state to participate. He explained that the media committee has widely distributed posters and advertisements in the state.
He praised the generous support provided by the state residents for the event.