10 January 2013

Sudan: U.S. Believes Diplomat's Murder Convicts Escaped Sudan Prison With Inside Help - Ex-Official

Washington — The United States believes that four men convicted for murdering a USAID diplomat and his driver in 2008 escaped their maximum-security prison with inside help, a former US official speaking in the condition of anonymity declared.

"We thought it was highly unlikely," the former official told Sudan Tribune on 9 January when asked about whether the US at the time believed the convicts could have simply done on their own.

However, he said Washington later obtained intelligence suggesting the prisoners received inside help from prison guards.

The four men, described as "Islamic extremists" by the prosecution, were convicted for the murder of USAID diplomat John Granville and his driver, Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, respectively American and Sudanese nationals.

They were leaving a New Year's Eve celebration in Khartoum, Sudan, when gunmen opened fire on their car, killing both of them, a statement by the US Department of read on 8 January.

US$5 million reward each

"The Department has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the capture of Abdelbasit Alhaj Alhasan Haj Hamad and Mohamed Makawi Ibrahim Mohamed, two of five individuals convicted in Sudan for the murders", part of the media note declared.

According to the US, five men were originally tried and convicted in 2009 by a Sudanese court for their involvement in the murders.

Four of those men - including Abdelbasit and Makawi - were convicted of murder and sentenced to death but escaped from prison on June 10, 2010, before their sentences could be carried out, the statement continued.

Of the four escapees, one was recaptured. A second was reportedly killed in Somalia and Abdelbasit and Makawi remain at large and are believed to be in Somalia.

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