Home | News    Tuesday 17 March 2015

Judge in trial of Sudan opposition leaders admits rebel statement as evidence

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March 16, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The judge in the trial of opposition leader, Farouq Abu Issa and a prominent rights activist, Amin Mekki Madani has agreed to admit a statement issued by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) as as evidence.

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Lawyers of detained opposition leader Farouq Abu-Essa and prominent human rights activist Amin Mekki Medani (ST)

Abu Issa and Medani have been detained since more than two months ago for signing a joint political declaration known as the “Sudan Call” with the rebel umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the opposition National Umma Party (NUP).

They are currently being tried before a special terrorism court set up by the chief justice according to the provision of the Terrorism Act on the grounds that counts filed against them include terrorism charges.

SPLM-N spokesperson, Arnu Ngutulu Lodi, issued a statement on Friday in which he confirmed attacks on the position of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Kalogi and other areas in South Kordofan state. He further said it came in support of a political campaign launched by the opposition forces to boycott the election across the country.

However, the SPLM-N secretary general Yasir Arman on Saturday issued a clarification saying these attacks are part of a defensive campaign undertaken by the rebel fighters to counter the summer military campaign launched on the directives of President Omer Hassan al-Bashir personally.

The second prosecution witness, Haitham Mohamed Osman, deposited in court during Monday’s session the SPLM-N statement as an indictment document number 11, saying the statement mentioned that military operations which took place last Thursday in South Kordofan came in execution of the “Sudan Call” charter.

The judge accepted the document 11 despite the defence objection, saying it is not signed by the SRF which is a signatory of the “Sudan Call”.

Osman who is also an officer at the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) said he will submit an important document to the court in the next session, pointing it includes an audio recording in which Abu Issa says they became a “strong and mighty hand”.

He said that Abu Issa was speaking at Khartoum airport upon his return from Addis Ababa following the signing of the “Sudan Call” charter.

Osman also denied that he was aware of the defendants’ whereabouts following their arrest on December 7, pointing to the secret structure of the NISS.

He added that “Sudan Call” from an intelligence perspective represents a call for war.

Gasim Youssef Gasim, prosecution’s first witness, for his part, said they found a piece of paper in Madani’s workplace, Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) speaking of hostile political activity, noting that several political activists and journalists are employed by the SOHR.

He also said that they found indictment document 9 which mentions that the chairman of SOHR is a member of the defence team, Nabeel Adeeb Abdalla, not the second defendant, Madani.

Gasim further said that SOHR has a joint project with the Britain-based Redress group, saying the latter seeks to execute the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against president Bashir.

He added that SOHR gathers information and issues reports on human rights violations with the support of the Canadian embassy, stressing that it sends these information to international bodies.

The head of the prosecution team, Yassir Ahmed Mohamed, said he hired strategic experts to interpret several clauses of the “Sudan Call”.

The next session has been delayed upon a request by the prosecution due to absence of two witnesses who are currently in official duties abroad.

Meanwhile, Abu Issa told the judge that he fell to the ground and hit his head while he was coming to the court session.

The judge allowed him to see a doctor, saying this is one of his legal rights.

Sources close to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) say prominent figures in the party and the Islamic Movement approached Bashir asking him to release the two detainees.

Last January Bashir has reportedly agreed to release them following a request by the opposition parties participating in the national dialogue.

But afterwards the justice minister referred their case to court.

Later the Sudanese leader said he is willing to set them free if they apologize.

(ST)

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