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Sudan lawyers: Atbara acquittals demonstrate ‘integrated platform for impunity’

October 5 - 2022 ATBARA
File photo
File photo

Lawyers and public observers voiced outrage, anger, sadness, and resentment on Tuesday, after the Criminal Court of Atbara in Sudan’s River Nile state acquitted three defendants accused of killing Mukhtar Abdullah in front of the security apparatus building in Atbara on April 11, 2019; a day on which at least 13 people died across Sudan, alleged from action by security forces and ‘shadow battalions’ (armed men in plain clothes), according to Sudanese doctors. In its verdict on Tuesday, the court acquitted the defendants due to insufficient evidence.

The crowd denounced the court’s ruling, noting a loss of confidence in the Sudanese judiciary, and they stressed the impossibility of achieving justice in the current situation.

The Atbara court previously acquitted four accused of killing the martyr Tariq Ahmed Ali on Monday, while the Sudanese judiciary earlier acquitted those accused of killing Hanafi Abdelshakour, and the prosecution refused to renew the detention of those accused of killing Dr Babikir Abdelhamid in January 2019.

Emergency Lawyer, Samir Idris, told Radio Dabanga that “these acquittals can be seen in the context of restoring the remnants of the former regime to the judiciary and the prosecution through the decisions of the Supreme Court”.

Speaking to the Sudan Today programme on Radio Dabanga, he asserts that it is part of “a large and well-thought-out scheme aimed at sparing the employees of the former regime from any prosecution on charges of violations and corruption”. He pointed out that “with the return of the remnants of the former regime to the judicial authorities, the communications will be engineered to acquit the rest of those involved”.

Idris cautioned against “a great collapse of the justice system, accompanied by the political collapse, so that the situation in the country becomes a ‘stateless state’, which provides the environment for even more violations”.

A statement by Sudan’s Emergency Lawyers labelled the the acquittals as “an integrated plan for impunity and a green light for the security services to further abuse the revolutionaries.” They indicated that circular 3/2021, which granted immunity to members of the security services, has not been cancelled.

The Emergency Lawyers lament that “the Public Prosecution Office has turned into a docile tool in the hands of the authority and its security services, with the provision of sufficient cover for the former regime with the return of the judges who were dismissed by the Committee to Dismantle Empowerment*”.

The lawyers stressed their determination “to resist the imbalance in the legal structure and the justice enforcement agencies through the struggle in the various areas of justice in the service of the revolution and revolutionaries”.

The full name of the committee is the Committee for Dismantling the June 30 1989 Regime, Removal of Empowerment and Corruption, and Recovering Public Funds. It was established by the government of Abdallah Hamdok at the end of 2019 with the aim to purge Sudan of the remnants of the Al Bashir regime. Empowerment (tamkin) is the term with which the ousted government of Omar Al Bashir supported its affiliates by granting them far-going privileges, including government functions, the setting-up of various companies, and tax exemptions.

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