[QODLink]
Africa

Sudan rebel leaders sentenced to death

Sentence comes weeks after the African Union adjourns talks it was brokering between the rebels and Sudan's government.

Last updated: 13 Mar 2014 21:02
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Malik Agar, head of SPLM-N rebel group, is one of seventeen people sentenced to death in absentia [Reuters]

Two leaders from the main rebel alliance fighting Sudan's president and 15 members of their group were sentenced to death in absentia, their lawyer said, a move that will raise the stakes in fighting in southern regions.

Malik Agar, who was governor of Sudan's remote Blue Nile state before taking up arms, and Yassir Arman, who stood against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in the 2010 elections, both received death sentences, lawyer Altujani Hassan told Reuters on Thursday.

"The judge Abdelmonem Youness sentenced (them) over staging a war against the state... and terrorism," Altujani Hassan said.

Agar is now the head, and Arman the secretary general, of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N), which is particularly active in southern Blue Nile and oil-producing South Kordofan regions.

Talks adjourned

The movement is part of a rebel umbrella group, also covering strife-torn Darfur in the west, that says it is fighting to bring in democratic reforms and topple Bashir. Khartoum has branded its members terrorists.

The sentence came weeks after the African Union adjourned talks it was brokering between SPLM-N and Sudan's government, saying both sides were deadlocked.

Fighting between the two sides has displaced or severely affected more than 900,000 people, according to the United Nations.

SPLM-N includes many fighters who sided with South Sudanese rebels in decades of civil war that ended in a 2005 peace deal that paved the way, in 2011, to the secession of South Sudan.

Both Agar and Arman were senior members of South Sudan's rebel SPLM, which is now that country's ruling party. 

Khartoum has accused South Sudan of backing the rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile - states on the border between the two countries. South Sudan's government has dismissed the accusation.

269

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.