September 12, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Dozens of relatives and family members of a Sudanese woman fatally shot last year by members of the Public Order Police (POP) demonstrated at the courthouse on Thursday prior to the commencement of the trial of nine police officers charged in connection with her death.
- FILE - This March 2012 photo shows the protest in Al-Deim area in central Khartoum over the killing of Awadia Agabna by the Public Order Police (ST)
The victim Awadia Agabna was killed as a result of a direct bullet to her head outside her house in Al-Deim area in central Khartoum by POP officers following a scuffle between them and her brother who they accused of being drunk and insisted on subjecting him to a sobriety test.
Several demonstrations broke out at the time in Khartoum to protest her death and demanding retribution which were swiftly dispersed by the police.
Sudan’s ministry of interior defended the actions of its officers claiming that “drunk” members of the Agabna’s family attacked the police and tried to seize their weapons. They also said that the victim was killed when the police “fired three shots in the air.”
The incident brought to light the controversial role of the POP which is tasked with regulating behaviour of men and women according to Islamic Shar’ia law. But many critics say that the law is not applied uniformly and in many cases allows for abuses by POP officers particularly against women.
During Thursday’s trial, the victim’s brother, Abdulaziz, called on the judge to apply the maximum sentence. He testified that on the day of the killing he heard gunfire from the direction of their house and rushed quickly to find out what was going on.
On his way there he came across his neighbour who told him that his mother and sister were taken to the hospital following the gunshots fired by POP.
At the hospital he found that his mother sustained fractures in her right hand and her tooth. His brother Walid had bruises on his forehead while his sisters had marks on their bodies indicating that they were whipped.
The victim, he said, passed away five hours after being shot emphasising that this was the cause of her death which was also confirmed by the doctors.
The defense team, however, presented a document issued by the Khartoum East court showing that Agabna was sentenced along with her mother several times on allegations that they were using the house to manufacture alcoholic beverages.
But the prosecution objected saying that the document submitted by the defense does not contain info on the property or the owner.
They also presented the court with documents showing the deceased to be a member of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and was socially active in the neighbourhood while working in selling hot drinks.