The Darfur Students Association in Sudanese universities has rejected the death penalty for a student who is accused of murdering a student on 29 April 2015. The Minister of Higher Education wants to curb the armed violence in university campuses.
The Khartoum Bahri Criminal Court handed-down the death sentence to student Mohamed Abdallah Baggari this month after convicting him of murdering a senior member of the Islamist student wing at the Sharg El Nil College campus in Khartoum North.
Baggari was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for manslaughter last November, following a deadly clash at the campus on 29 April 2015. Militant National Congress Party students attacked a meeting of the Darfur Student Association. After the clash, a senior member of the Islamist student wing of the ruling NCP, Mohamed Awadelkarim, was found dead on the campus.
The student association described the ruling as “an unjust and oppressive one”, and called on the government of Sudan at a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday to not politicise the courts. The students demanded the Sudanese judiciary “to be committed to impartiality and justice”.
Lawyers of the Darfur Bar Association also have strongly objected to Baggari's death sentence. According to them the court hearings violated Baggari’s right to legal aid provided for in the 2005 Interim Constitution.
The student speakers at the press conference on Thursday further demanded the government to disarm jihadist units in universities, a subject that was discussed in the Sudanese Parliament this week. The Minister of Higher Education, Sumeiya Abu Kashawa has proposed to prohibit armed political activities on campuses, and to have a campus police apparatus that can control weapons and tools of violence.
In a statement to Parliament Kashawa said that her ministry aspires to see violence-free universities by promoting a culture of peace and acceptance of other students. She denied rumours that weapons are stored at universities and called for an extension of the ministry's authority over campuses.