22 January 2019

Sudan: 'Not Guilty' Verdict Welcome but Torture in Prison Must Be Investigated

press release

Responding to the 'not guilty' verdict issued today at the re-trial of Sudanese student activist, Asim Omar Hassan, who was originally sentenced to death for killing a police officer during protests in 2016, Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

"We join Asim's family in celebrating this good news which comes as a huge relief after he was originally sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit."

"The authorities must however conduct an independent and effective investigation into allegations that he was tortured in prison. Though Asim has been acquitted, justice can only truly be done once the officials responsible for his ill-treatment are held to account, and he has been provided with appropriate redress for his injuries and imprisonment.

"The Sudanese authorities must review laws that allow for the torture and ill-treatment of detainees, notably by the National Intelligence and Security Services and the police."

Background

Asim Omar was arrested on 2 May 2016 and accused of killing a police officer during protests at the University of Khartoum the previous month. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to death on 24 September 2017.

He successfully appealed the sentence, and the judge ordered a re-trial of his case in August 2018. While in prison, he alleges that he was severely beaten by prison guards sustaining injuries on one of his legs, his testicles and his ears that rendered him incapable of appearing in court for one of the sessions.

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