16 September 2012

Sudan: Pressure to Probe Death of Protesters in Anti-Film Demonstrations

Protesters have staged rallies outside Western embassies across the Middle East and North Africa in response to an anti-Muslim film produced in the ... ( Resource: Anti-Islam Video Protests Shake Sudan

Khartoum — The Sudanese parliament is intending to summon the minister of interior to question him on the circumstances that led to the killing of two protesters during Friday's demonstrations against an anti-Islam film outside the U.S. embassy in Khartoum, an official said.

The ministry of interior already admitted its responsibility for the death of the two citizens, saying they were accidentally run over by cars of the anti-riot police as they attempted to break up the demonstrations which formed part of a region-wide outburst of rage against "Innocence of Muslims", an anti-Islam film made in the U.S.

Similar protests by thousands of people in a number of Middle Eastern countries led to the death of some protesters and killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya.

In Khartoum, thousands of protesters mobilized by hard-line Islamist figures demonstrated outside three Western diplomatic missions in Khartoum including the German, British and U.S. embassy.

The protesters set fire on the German embassy building in downtown Khartoum and replaced its flag with an Islamic one under connivance from some police members, according to eye witnesses.

A simultaneous protest outside the U.S. embassy in Suba suburb witnessed clashes between the police and protesters, leading to the death of the two citizens.

Some eye witnesses cited mainly by pro-government media spoke of the death of a third protester by bullets fired from U.S. snipers on the roof of the embassy but Sudan Tribune could not verify these claims independently.

The deputy speaker of the Sudanese parliament, Hago Gasim Al-Said, announced on Sunday that the parliament's Security and Defense Committee is going to summon the minister of interior Ibrahim Mahmoud over the death of the two protesters.

Hago told reporters in Khartoum that the minister should appear before the committee within the next two days to answer for all the details and causes of the death cases plus the violence that befell the German and U.S. embassies.

The daily newspaper Al-Sudani published on Saturday details on the identity of the deceased protesters. According to the paper, one of them is a 20-year-old student of Koran called Abdel Magid Atta. The other protester is aged 32 but his identity remains unknown, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the Popular Committee for Supporting Prophet Mohammed (PCSPM), a body formed by Islamists in response to the film, announced on Sunday that it intends to submit an urgent memorandum to the minister of interior and heads of main police departments demanding an investigation into the killing of the two protesters.

The committee also called for bringing justice to the "American murders" that killed a third protester by snipers' gunfire.

PCSPM chairman Nasir Al-Sayed, who was speaking in a press conference at the headquarters of the Muslim Scholars Committee in Khartoum, stressed the need for "allowing Jihadists to punish whoever insulted the prophet"

He added that Friday's events proved "the existence of infiltration in security forces"

Al-Sayed called for forming an investigation committee headed by a judge to probe the events. He went on to call on the government to expel U.S. diplomats from Sudan in protection of what he described as the sovereignty of the country.

Sudan announced on Saturday that it declined a request by the U.S. to send a special force from the Marines to protect the embassy in Khartoum. Meanwhile in Washington, the U.S. State Department announced it ordered non-essential staff in the embassies in Tunisia and Khartoum to leave.

In a related development, the leader of the Islamist opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan Al-Turabi, condemned the violence committed against Western embassies, describing those who perpetrated as "ignorant people who know nothing about [Prophet] Mohammed"

Speaking to reporters on Sunday following his return from the Qatari capital Doha, Al-Turabu voiced concerns that these violent events in Middle Eastern countries could be exploited and associated with the existence of Islamists at the helm of power.

Al-Turabi nonetheless added that these events are unlikely to have a great impact on the relations between the West and Islamists. "Most Westerners realize that Islamists are not behind these acts of aggressions"

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