The Kosti criminal court in Sudan’s White Nile state condemned Darfuri student Abubakar Yousef to death, and sentenced another 10 students from Darfur to prison terms, for their participation in riots at the University of Bakht El Rida in May 2017.
The court passed the death sentence on Abubakar Yousef for the murder of a policeman during the university violence. El Tayeb Ahmed received a four-month prison sentence for causing grievous bodily harm, while nine other students received six-month prison sentences for rioting and violating public safety.
Lawyer Jibril Hasabo told Radio Dabanga that the defence council would appeal the sentences. He explained that the court ordered those students sentenced to prison to be released, as they spent 18 months in custody pending trial, so the court considered the prison terms already served.
The students were arrested and charged after violence erupted at the Faculty of Education of the University of Bakht El Rida on 9 May 2017 after disagreements at the university’s student union. Police intervened and dispersed the protesters using tear gas and rubber bullets, as well as live ammunition. A policeman and a woman student were killed, and 25 other people, including four police officers, were injured.
In July, in reaction to the detentions, between 1,000 and 1,500 students submitted collective resignations from the university in protest against “the security services and the university administration’s racial targeting of Darfuri students.”
The students then attempted to travel to Khartoum to register their protest in the national capital, but they were prevented from boarding busses by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
This prompted to walk towards Khartoum as a mass march, however the NISS stopped them at the village of Sheikh El Yagout and prevented them from entering the city.