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First Darfur students on trial in Omdurman

November 2 - 2015 OMDURMAN
Darfuri students during a sit-in at the Holy Koran University in Omdurman on 13 October 2015 (Photo made by one of the students)
Darfuri students during a sit-in at the Holy Koran University in Omdurman on 13 October 2015 (Photo made by one of the students)

On Sunday, the Criminal Court of North Omdurman began the first trial of nine Darfuri students of the Holy Koran University.

The students face various charges related to disturbing the public order and creating chaos, defence lawyer Jibril Hassabo told Radio Dabanga.

Sit-in

The students were detained during clashes at the Holy Koran University in Omdurman last month. When they organised a sit-in on 13 October in protest on against the university administration’s refusal to exempt new Darfuri students from registration and tuition fees, they were attacked by militant students of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) backed by police and security forces.

Several Darfuri students were wounded. Many others were detained. Less than two weeks later, the Darfuri students organised a sit-in again, which was violently dispersed again by security forces and pro-NCP students. About 40 Darfuri students were held and taken to police stations in Omdurman.

Exemption

It was agreed in the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur that Darfuri students are exempted from tuition and exam fees. The stipulation in the Doha peace document was later enforced in an agreement between the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) and the federal Ministry of Higher Education.

Nevertheless, several Sudanese universities have refused or evicted Darfuri students because they could not afford to pay the fees. They have also been increasingly subjected to discrimination, assaults, and detention since last year.

The students blame the DRA for remaining silent on the issue.


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