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Africa
Darfur rebels sentenced to death
Sudanese court convicts eight, including senior JEM member, over attack on capital.
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2008 17:15 GMT
Those convicted include a senior member of
the Justice and Equality Movement
[EPA]

Sudan has sentenced eight Darfur fighters, including a senior member of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), to death for their involvement in an attack on Khartoum, Sudan's capital.

The court ruling on Sunday brings to 38 the number of people condemned to hang over the unprecedented attack in which more than 222 people were killed.

Among those sentenced was Abdel Aziz el-Nur Ashr, the half-brother of Khalil Ibrahim, the JEM leader.

"The court is sentencing all eight accused to death by hanging," said Mudathir Rashid Sidahmed, the presiding judge.

The accused and relatives - who were barred from attending the hearing - broke into shouts of death to the government after the sentences were read, a reporter for the AFP news agency said.

Darfuri women at the court protested outside the courtroom but were escorted away by police.

The accused have one week to appeal before Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan's president, signs the execution order.

Concerns

Gibril Ibrahim, an adviser to the chairman of JEM, told al Jazeera: "The bloody regime that killed hundreds of thousands of people in cold blood in Darfur would not hesitate to sentence to death a few freedom fighters.

"But the court has no legal base and no constitutional base at all. Those people are prisoners of war and Sudan is party to the Geneva Conventions, hence it has no right to put these people into trial."

The UN has voiced concern that the courts do not meet international standards and urged the appeals court to review the sentences.

The attack on Khartoum in May was the first time an armed group had brought their fight to the capital.

The fighters were stopped at bridges over the Nile, a few kilometres from the presidential palace and army headquarters.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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