The Supreme Court of Sudan has reportedly issued a decision to release Abdelraouf Hamza, who was sentenced to death in 2009, together with three others, for their involvement in the murder of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) employees John Granville and his Sudanese driver Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama during the first hours of 2008.
Abdelmalik, Hamza’s brother, wrote on his Facebook page on Monday: “My brother Abdelraouf is free by a decision of the Supreme Court”.
John Granville and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama died in a hail of bullets in the early hours of January 1, 2008, when gunmen opened fire on their car as they left a New Year’s Eve party in the Sudan capital Khartoum. They were both employees of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Four days after the murder, the Ansar Al Tawhid (Supporters of Monotheism) claimed responsibility via a post on a website used by Islamists. In September, five Sudanese men admitted their roles in the killing.
In June 2009, four suspects were sentenced to death by hanging. One year later, they broke out of Kober prison. A Sudanese police officer was killed during the escape. Hamza was recaptured three weeks later. Another was killed in Somalia in May 2011.The US government voiced its conviction that the convicts escaped their maximum-security prison ‘with inside help’.
Islamist militant Gusei El Jani was subsequently received a 12-year sentence for assisting the killers, but he was granted early release in April 2016, to which the US Embassy in Khartoum voiced it’s ‘concern’.
As reported by Radio Dabanga at the time, the US Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program has authorised rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the capture of the two men still at-large, Abdelbasit El Haj and Mohamed Mekkawi.