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Sudan junta drops death penalty against rebel leaders

August 9 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Yasir Arman, Secretary-General of the SPLM-N (File photo)
Yasir Arman, Secretary-General of the SPLM-N (File photo)

Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) has cancelled the death penalty that was issued against Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) leader Malik Agar, his deputy Yasir Arman, and 15 others in 2014.

The TMC said in a statement on Thursday that the decision to abolish the death penalty came as part of measures to achieve peace in Sudan, confirmed by the Constitutional Declaration agreed on by the junta and the Forces for Freedom and Change a week ago.

In March 2014, after a nine-months trial, a special court in Singa, capital of Sennar, sentenced 17 members of the SPLM-N to death by hanging in absentia. Forty-six other detainees were sentenced to life imprisonment, while 31 were acquitted.

Those sentenced were among about 100 detainees who faced trial for their alleged involvement in the outbreak of the war in Blue Nile state in September 2011.

Following the ousting of President Omar Al Bashir in a military coup on April 11, the SPLM-N faction under the leadership of Malik Agar, decided to send a delegation to Khartoum. On May 26, Yasir Arman arrived in the Sudanese capital.

The stated goal of his visit was “to go to Khartoum, reach a just peace, linking between peace, democracy, and citizenship without discrimination and social justice”.

In spite of the death penalty, Arman was not subjected to any harassment at his arrival at Khartoum airport. Yet, he soon received six letters; five by Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, Deputy chairman of the TMC, and one by the chairman of the junta, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, demanding he leave Sudan.

The rebel leader was detained on June 5. Five days later, he was deported to the South Sudanese capital of Juba, together with SPLM-N secretary-general Ismail Khamis and spokesman Mubarak Ardol.


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