Sudan: 2005 Port Sudan Massacre Commemorated

Port Sudan — People in Sudan's Red Sea state commemorated the 15th anniversary of the January 29 2005 killing of 21 peaceful protesters in Port Sudan's Deim El Arab district. Large crowds gathered for various political and community events.

Areej Hussein, head of the High Committee for the Families of the Martyrs of Port Sudan, demanded in a speech that the perpetrators be brought to justice and fair trial, stressing that there is no impunity.

She mentioned that the 15th anniversary comes in a positive atmosphere after the fall of the former regime and the completion of the formation of judicial institutions, and said that it is the assignment of the legal track committee that emanated from the High Committee to move immediately and prepare for its legal role through the Democratic Alliance of Lawyers and the National Centre for Legal Aid.

She commended the formation of the investigation committee, which started its work in the Public Fund Prosecution, considering that the beginning of justice is in the legal aspect of the file of the slain.

The committee appealed to all Red Sea residents to present their statements to the committee as a contribution to achieving justice.

The Chairperson of the High Committee stressed the review of the committee's strategies that were based on escalating in the face of the defunct regime and the transition to peaceful democratic civil action, the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, the realization of the democratic project to continue the realisation of the new Sudan, and work to preserve human dignity and achieve justice.

She considered the achievement of justice a moral obligation.

The celebration programme included theatrical performances, revolutionary songs and poems.

Massacre

On January 29, 2005, government forces violently quelled a demonstration calling on Khartoum to allocate more resources to the marginalised region inhabited by the Beja tribe. In addition to the 21 people killed, popularly referred to as 'martyrs', more than 400 protesters, among them women and children, were injured. Hundreds of demonstrators were detained.

For years, Beja leaders called for the prosecution of the forces who killed the demonstrators to no avail. The annual commemoration of the massacre was sometimes banned as well.

After the Constitutional Court decided positively on the lawyers' request for a new investigation in late 2015, the authorities in Port Sudan agreed in October 2016 to reopen the file. The prosecutor agreed to request the Defence and Interior Ministers to lift the immunity enjoyed by members of the regular armed forces. Yet, he refused to add the files of a previous investigation into the incident to the case.

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