Khartoum — A Sudanese court of appeal on Thursday upheld death sentences issued previously in absentia against leaders of the rebel Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in connection with the outbreak of the conflict with Khartoum in the Blue Nile state in September 2011.
SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar and secretary-general Yasser Aman were handed the capital punishment last March along with 17 others. The same court sentenced 47 others to life in prison which was also upheld by the appeals court today.
The counts include terrorist crimes; crimes against the state; participation, aiding and abetting of crimes; crimes against humanity; the use of arms .
The court ordered the circulation of notices containing the sentences at all ports of entry and internationally for apprehension.
Battles between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and SPLM-N forces in Blue Nile erupted in September 2011, with each side accusing the other of starting the fighting.
Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir immediately declared a state of emergency in the state, which allowed him to sack Agar, then the state's governor, and later shut down SPLM-N's offices in the country.
The African Union (AU) has sought to broker a peace deal between Khartoum and SPLM-N in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states but has yet to achieve any success.