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Sudan releases most members of extremist cell

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June 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities at al-Huda prison in the twin city capital of Omdurman released on Thursday 23 out of 30 members of an extremist cell apprehended in late 2012 upon directives of Criminal Investigation Prosecution’s office.

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FILE - Hardliner Islamic cleric Abdel-Hay Youssef speaks after a mass "standing prayer" organized by Islamic Groups to honour al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was shot dead in Pakistan, in Khartoum May 3, 2011 (Reuters)

Authorities announced at the time that 25 Islamist extremists were detained following fierce clashes at al-Dandar Wildlife Park in the central state of Sennar southeast of the capital Khartoum.

Dozens of policemen and cell members were killed in the clash.

The group who ran a training camp told police during investigations that they intended to launch "jihad" in Somalia. Other reports spoke of their intention to head to Mali to fight against French forces stationed there.

The head of the Islamic Fiqh council Esam al-Bashir reviewed the case of the group and concluded that there were external influences on the defendants along with them being of young age.

According to Sudanese local newspapers, the prosecutor of terrorism-related crimes Abdel-Moniem Abdel-Hafez, issued a decision to release 23 of the defendants in accordance with instructions from the minister of justice.

Abdel-Hafez also ordered the continuation of investigations with the remaining seven before deciding on how to proceed with them.

The released members have reportedly signed personal pledges to renounce violence and extremist views. Families of the policemen killed during the clashes in al-Dandar have waived their right in seeing the defendants punished.

The defendants faced charges of forming a terrorist group, opposing government by force and undermining the state in addition to possession of illegal firearms which carried the maximum sentence of the death penalty.

(ST)

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