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Sudanese appeal court orders rearrest of suspect in protest killing

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August 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese court on Tuesday ordered the re-arrest of the main 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)

The appeals court vacated the acquittal decision issued by the lower court and ordered retrial of the suspect with premeditated murder under article 130 of the criminal code.

Last May, a trial court judge 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.

Ali, a former soldier in the Sudanese army, was dismissed from service following the events and his accusation of murder. There were rumours that he left the country immediately after the court decision.

Abdel-Bagi’s sister, Iman, a journalist working for Al-Migher Al-Siyasi daily newspaper, posted on her Facebook page the following “Thank Allah (God) who supports the right and answers prayers, the appeal court issued a death by hanging decision against the killer of my martyr sister, Sara Abdel-Bagi”.

The appeal court on Tuesday ordered the arrest and retrial of the suspect, saying “the trial court made a major mistake as if it was trying a suspect other than the one who is present before it”.

It said the evidence presented by the prosecution was coherent; upholding the charge sheet which states that the suspect carried out the material element of the crime by using the firearm and firing the bullet that killed Abdel-Bagi.

Rights groups said that at least 200 people were killed in the protests but the government put the death toll at 77, saying it will form a commission of inquiry to find out who opened fire on the demonstrators.

The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Mashood Baderin, last June said he received a report from the Sudanese ministry of justice about the protests of last September without elaborating on its contents.

Badrain said he would submit the report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) upcoming session next September.

(ST)

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