Home | News    Saturday 15 August 2015

Mastermind behind escape of US diplomat killers goes on hunger strike

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August 14, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – An accomplice in the escape operation from a maximum security prison of four prison inmates convicted of killing an American diplomat and his driver in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum has entered an open-ended hunger strike over alleged mistreatment.

Qusai al-JailiJohn Granville, 33, who worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and his 40-year-old Sudanese driver Abdel-Rahman Abbas were hit in their car by a hail of bullets before dawn on 2008 New Year’s Day.

Sudanese authorities eventually managed to capture five men believed to be belonging to the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Tawhid, and charged them with the assassination.

Their names were Mohamed Makkawi, Abdel-Basit Haj al-Hassan, Mohannad Osman Youssef, Abdel-Ra’uf Abu-Zaid Mohamed Hamza and Murad Abdel-Rahman Abdullah.

Except for Abdullah, a Sudanese court sentenced all the defendants to death by hanging in 2009. But the four managed to escape in June 2010 from Kober Federal prison under mysterious circumstances. Police at the time said that the prisoners used sewer pipes to flee.

The warden of Kober prison was suspended from duty over the incident but was later reinstated after being cleared from negligence.

Later it was revealed that the government re-arrested Hamza while the family of Youssef said he was killed in Somalia without giving details.

In late December 2012 Al-Qaeda affiliate released a detailed 41-minute video on YouTube purportedly filmed inside prison showing the escape route and plan of the four men.

A source told Sudan Tribune that Qusai al-Jaili, who is serving twelve years in prison for masterminding the escape, has entered a hunger strike on Sunday for mistreatment, saying he asked the prison authorities to improve healthcare and remove his handcuffs.

He said that prison authorities don’t allow him family visits just like the rest of the prisoners, saying they allowed Abdel-Ra’uf who is on the death row to attend his fathers’ funeral last May while they prevented him from attending the funeral of his brother.

Al-Jaili added that Abdel-Ra’uf receives weekly family visits while he is not given the same privilege, noting the prison authorities also seek to discredit him by accusing him of belonging to Al-Quaeda.

He said that he spent half of his prison time with good conduct and memorized the holy Quran, stressing this should have allowed him being released according to the prison regulations.

Al-Jaili further pointed that the co-mastermind of the escape operation, Mubarak Mustafa, was released upon a presidential pardon.

It should be noted that the US in February 2013 condemned a pardon issued by president Omer al-Bashir to Mustafa who was convicted as an accomplice in the escape of Granville assassins.

Al-Jaili also pointed that his health condition has deteriorated since he entered his sixth day of hunger strike, saying he didn’t eat any food since he was transferred to the notorious “five minutes” prison cells.

His family held the prison authorities responsible for any deterioration in his health conditions, warning against possible health complications due to the hunger strike and mistreatment.

(ST)

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