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US ‘concern’ over Sudan’s release of killers’ helper

April 7 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Abdelbasit El Haj explains the escape route from Kober Prison in 2010 (ST)
Abdelbasit El Haj explains the escape route from Kober Prison in 2010 (ST)

The US Embassy in Khartoum issued a statement today expressing its ‘concern’ over the release on Tuesday of Gusei El Jani, an Islamist militant who was serving a 12-year sentence for assisting the killers of a US agency worker and his Sudanese driver to escape from prison.

“The United States notes with concern the April 5 early release of Qusai al-Jaili, who was convicted as an accomplice in the prison escape of four men sentenced to death for the 2008 murders of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) employees John Granville and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama.

“Sudanese courts tried and convicted five men in connection with these murders. One was convicted on lesser charges and served a lesser penalty. The other four were convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but escaped from prison in 2010 with the assistance of Qusai Al-Jaili.  A Sudanese police officer was killed during the escape.

“We always will mourn the deaths of John Granville, Abdelrahman Abbas, and the Sudanese police officer.

“They were murdered while working for peace and stability in Sudan, and we honor their memory and their families. We will continue to closely follow the details of all who were involved in this act of terror.

“We urge the Government of Sudan, not only to fulfil its previous assurances to hold accountable those involved, but to take all necessary steps to ensure that the murderers, and those who assisted them, will not conduct further acts of violence and terrorism against innocent people.

“Two of the killers remain at-large and one remains incarcerated in Sudan. The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program has authorized 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.

“The U.S. Department of State designated these two men under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism,” the US statement concludes.

According to Sudan Tribune, Qusai Al Jani, a member of the militant Ansar al-Tawhid group, received a Presidential pardon for good behaviour and memorising the Koran, and was released after serving half of his sentence.

The killers of John Granville, Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, and the Sudanese police officer, were sentenced to death by hanging in 2009 but they managed to escape with the support of Qusai Al Jani and another man in 2010.

Three of the four fugitives managed to reach Somalia where two of them were killed in the Horn of Africa country. The fourth, Abdelra’uf Abuzaid Mohamed Hamza, was re-arrested and still waiting his execution in Kober Prison.

Hamza was recently on a 10-day hunger strike to protest against ill-treatment. Also his family says his health extremely deteriorated and suffers from high blood pressure.

(Sources: US Embassy Khartoum, ST)

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