9 November 2015

Sudanese Govt. Acknowledges Death of 86 Protesters

Khartoum — On Saturday, the Sudanese Minister of Justice, Awad El Hassan, announced the results of the investigations by the government committee of inquiry into the shooting of protesters during the September 2013 demonstrations.

The investigation committee concluded in its report that 86 people were killed. The government will pay the full 'blood money' to the families of the victims, El Hassan stated during a press conference in Khartoum.

The Minister further reported that four people whom he did not identify have been arrested. "Their immunity will be lifted and they will be brought to trial after being found guilty of participating in the killing of a number of demonstrators," he said.

On 23 September 2013, demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese towns following the government's decision to lift fuel subsidies, while the prices of basic consumer goods were already soaring. The authorities responded by using tear gas, rubber and live bullets. According to the Sudan Doctors' Syndicate, some 200 protesters were killed in the Sudanese capital alone. The Sudanese government claims that the death toll did not exceed 80 people.

After much pressure, the Sudanese authorities formed a commission of inquiry to investigate the shootings.

Compensation

In August, President Omar Al Bashir directed the Ministry of Justice to compensate the families of the protest victims. The lawyer of a number of families of protesters killed during the September-October 2013 demonstrations told Radio Dabanga at the time that the responsibility for these crimes cannot be settled by providing compensation alone. "Internationally recognised procedures should be followed, as set out by the African Law for Human Rights and the UN."

"First, the perpetrators have to be identified and charged. During the process, the size of the moral and financial compensations are to be discussed with the relatives of the victims," he explained. "The payment of the compensation is supposed to be done in the final phase."

British and French diplomats in Khartoum welcomed the decision but also noted that justice cannot be achieved by financial measures only. They called upon the Sudanese government to conduct an independent investigation into the September protests, after a visit to more than a dozen families of victims in Khartoum on 26 September.

Medical treatment

The Committee of Solidarity with the Victims of the September 2013 Demonstrations in Khartoum pointed in October to the treatment costs of the protesters who were injured.

According to the committee's latest inventory, more than SDG250,000 ($406,100) has been paid for the treatment of the injured in Khartoum. 45 demonstrators received treatment for a longer period of time. The amount was collected among Sudanese citizens, chairman Siddig Yousif told Radio Dabanga.

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