Death of protester (16) in Sudan sparks outrage at home and abroad

Ibrahim Majzoub (16), who was killed during the February 28 protests in Khartoum North (Social Media)


The death of 16-year-old protester, Ibrahim Majzoub, who was shot in the chest, allegedly by a police officer, during the February 28 pro-democracy processions in East Nile in Khartoum North, has sparked widespread condemnation from both the national and international community.

A suspect has reportedly been arrested and is being questioned, and had his immunity lifted. Activist groups in Sudan have called for the accused to be tried for premeditated murder.

In a press release by the head of the Martyrs’ and Violations Prosecution Office, El Taher Abdelrahman, he states that procedures for Majzoub’s autopsy have been completed and an official report under Article 130 of the Criminal Code has been registered.

Abdelrahman added that events surrounding the killing have been caught on the viral video depicting Majzoub’s death and “a number of witnesses, as well as the weapon used in his killing” will be used as evidence against the accused.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, lawyer Ishraga Sultan stated that this incident should be treated as a “premeditated execution”. She demanded that charges under Article 130 of the criminal code be escalated to premeditated murder and crimes against humanity. According to the lawyer, a statement issued by the Khartoum state police press office depicted the killing as a response to “demonstrators using violence”.

Khartoum Resistance Committee member El Fateh Hussein also denounced the police statement which excused the accused’s actions as a response to violence on the part of the demonstrators. Hussein stated that the “police had shown a total disregard” for protesters, and that the accused “pointed his weapon at the demonstrator and fired with intent to kill”.

He added that this issue was endemic and Majzoub’s killing was not simply “individual behaviour on the part of the policeman”.

United Doctors’ Office member and leader in the mainstream Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC-Central Council), Alaa Nugud, echoed the endemic issue of violence on the part of the junta. He stated that these crimes were “aimed at thwarting the political process and pressuring civilians to withdraw from it”.

Nugud told Radio Dabanga that the “political process represents the only way out of the country’s crises” and stressed that “since the signing of the Framework Agreement, we expected an escalation of violence”. The FFC-Central Council leader stated that authorities resorted to violence “after the failure of their other options”.

The Unified Doctors’ Office also stated that the culture of security apparatus suppression during peaceful processions, “led to the accused daring to commit such a crime”.

The head of the National Human Rights Commission, Rifat Mirghani, called on the authorities to take all measures to protect demonstrators from all forms of violence.

Mirghani underlined that peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are unequivocal rights “guaranteed under the constitutional document, as well as international and regional treaties ratified by the state, and as such, the state must respect and protect these rights”.

The commission reiterated its observation about the persistence of impunity in all cases of violence committed against demonstrators and stressed the importance of the public interest in this current investigation.

International reaction

The Sudan Troika member states (USA, UK, and Norway) expressed their deep concern over the continued killing of peaceful demonstrators, now making Ibrahim Majzoub the 125th protester to have died, since the military coup on October 25, 2021.

In their statement, the Troika representatives strongly condemned the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, “stressing the need for perpetrators to not go unpunished”.

They expressed their appreciation for the prompt action taken by the Ministry of Interior in condemning the killing of the protester, and confirming that necessary legal measures were being taken against the accused officer.

Troika stated that they were steadfast in their support in the restoration of a transitional government led by civilians to meet the demands of the Sudanese people for a free, peaceful, and just future for Sudan.

The United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) also issued a condemnation of the shooting of a young demonstrator, stating that “the use of live bullets against demonstrators is unacceptable and contradicts Sudan’s human rights obligations”.

In a statement, UNITAMS urged the “authorities to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation into this death”, and all other human rights violations that occurred in the context of the protests since October 25, 2021, to hold those responsible accountable.