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Sudanese court acquits ex-army soldier charged with killing protester

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May 28, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese court on Wednesday has acquitted the suspect in the killing of Sara Abdel-Bagi who was shot during the protests which erupted last September following the government’s decision to lift fuel subsidies.

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Woman holding a poster of Sara Abdel-Bagi in front of court in Khartoum May 28, 2014 (ST)

Following the court’s decision, the authorities apprehended the victim’s lawyer and took him to an unknown location. It was not clear why.

The trial, which took place at a court in Khartoum North, was attended by the victim’s family and activists.

When the acquittal verdict was read, the courtroom saw a mixture of contradictory emotions ranging from anger and agitation to joy and cheering.

The family of the victim and the activists shouted slogans against the government and denounced the verdict, underscoring the victim’s blood will not be wasted in vain. The suspect’s family on the other hand, was delighted by the court decision.

Riot police were deployed around the court premises in anticipation of any protests.

The judge said he acquitted the suspect, Sami Mohamed Ahmed Ali, of the murder charges because he was not convinced by the testimonies of the 11 witnesses, highlighting their inconsistency.

The suspect, a former soldier in the Sudanese army, was dismissed from service following the events and his accusation of murder.

Muatassim Al-Hag Ali, the head of the prosecution team, said in press statements that they will appeal the verdict, saying they have many doubts about it.

Abdel-Bagi’s father told Sudan Tribune that he wants the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate his daughter’s death calling it "genocide".

Protests erupted in Sudan’s major towns last September following an announcement by the government that it was lifting subsidies on fuel and other basic commodities, leading to calls for regime change.

At least 200 protesters died, 15 of them children, and more than 800 others have been detained.

(ST)

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