Sudan: Emergency Courts Imprison Students, Fuel Smugglers

Since mid-December, protesters have taken to the streets in towns and cities across the country to protest price increases and to call on President Omar al-Bashir, in power for 29 years, to step down. The protests began in Atbara and have spread to other cities and towns, including Gedarif, Wad Madani, Port Sudan, Dongola, El Obeid, El Fasher, Khartoum, and Omdurman.

Omdurman / Kassala — An Emergency Court ruled to imprison three university students for six months and a fine. Police sergeants and lawyers presented conflicting stories as to how the students were arrested. Two fuel smugglers have been sentenced to prison.

El Ahfad University for Women students Fatima Mahjoub and Sahar Ahmed Mohamed received the sentence on Wednesday in Omdurman's Emergency Court, together with student Razan Omar. Judge Judge Ibrahim Hussein found them guilty of violating the Emergency Law and Sudan's Criminal Law. They were ordered to be under social supervision for six months because of their young age and a fine of SDG2,000 ($42*) each.

Their lawyer, Anam Ateeg, said she would appeal the verdict.

Police sergeant Omar Mustafa said during the court session that police deployed at the Libya Market, not far from El Ahaf University, spotted young women and men chanting slogans against the government.

Eyewitnesses, however, said the three students were forced to get off a public bus by men in civilian clothes and taken to a Hilux vehicle which carried police force plates.

In the Emergency Court in Khartoum North this week, a judge wrote-off a criminal complaint against three students from the East Nile University who had demonstrated during widespread demonstrations at universities in Khartoum last week. The students were released.

Fuel smuggling

Yesterday, the Emergency Court in Omdurman also sentenced two people accused of violating the Emergency Law in a fuel smuggling operation.The first convict was sentenced to four years imprisonment and a fine of SDG30,000 ($632) and two years imprisonment extra in case of non-payment.

According to the official Sudan News Agency, the court sentenced the second convict to two years imprisonment with a fine of SDG20,000 ($421) and a one year prison sentence in case of non-payment.

Four Emergency Orders have been issued as of February 25, in an attempt to curb the continuation of the protests against his government and granting more powers to security and paramilitary forces. The third and fourth Orders regulate the handling of foreign exchange and the sale and distribution of fuel and subsidised goods respectively.

In addition to any penalty provided in Sudan's criminal or other laws, anyone who violates the provisions of the Emergency Orders shall be punished with additional imprisonment sentences accordingly.

Case of killed teacher

Adil Abdelghani, a spokesman for the defence team in the case of the killing of teacher Ahmed El Kheir by Nationa Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents in Khashm El Girba in eastern Sudan's Kassala in early February, said they received information on the security apparatus' formation of an internal military court. The military court would try 16 of the people accused who have been accused of torturing the teacher to death or being involved. The session has been scheduled for Sunday.

Abdelghani announced in a press statement that the indictment will examine four options after the formation of the military court. He addressed the Sudanese presidency by virtue of the subordination of the NISS to the presidency itself, to direct the security to lift its hand from the case and transfer it to the judiciary.

Following teacher El Kheir's death on January 31, authorities in Kassala said that the teacher had felt sick during interrogation. Investigators found marks on the body which show that El Kheir was tortured and that the fatal complications led to his death, in detention of the security service.

In early March, lawyers representing the family of Ahmed El Kheir urged the supreme prosecutor of Kassala state to allow for a renewed autopsy of the body.

* As effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the Market Makers Mechanism-determined daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)

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