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LIBRARY > AFRICA > EAST AFRICA > SUDAN

AI INDEX: AFR 54/013/2002     18 July 2002
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PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 54/013/2002

EXTRA 56/02 Imminent Execution/Torture/Unfair trial 18
July 2002

SUDAN 88 people, reportedly from the Rizeigat ethnic
group


Eighty-eight people were condemned to death by the ''special'' or ''emergency''
court in the city of Nyala on 17 July. They could be imminently executed by
hanging or crucifixion and have seven days to appeal to the Chief Justice of
the Nyala District, southern Darfur Province, Western Sudan.

They were tried without proper legal representation and some were reportedly
tortured before trial. At least 35 of the detainees complained of being badly
beaten with sticks, gun butts and hoses by police officers in Nyala in June.
Some reportedly had their fingers and forearms broken. Their defence lawyers
asked the court for medical examinations to be carried out on those who were
allegedly tortured. This request was refused and on 2 July the defence lawyers
withdrew from the court in protest at this decision and the court's refusal to
let them question prosecution witnesses.

The 88 are part of a group of at least 130, mostly from the Rizeigat community
in southern Darfur, who were arrested on 6 May. They were charged with crimes
relating to murder, armed robbery and public disturbance. They are convicted of
having participated in the recent clashes between the Rizeigat and the Maalyia
ethnic groups in Al-Tabet, Southern Darfur, that killed at least 10 people.
There are allegations that the Maalyia could now be supported by the Sudanese
government as a proxy militia in the civil war in southern Sudan.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Sudan's Penal Code, which is based upon the government's interpretation of
Shari'a (Islamic law), includes penalties such as limb amputation, death, and
death followed by crucifixion. Amnesty International regards these as cruel,
inhuman or degrading punishments. They are inconsistent with international
human rights law and Sudan's obligations under the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Sudan has ratified, and the United
Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment (CAT), which Sudan has signed. Amnesty International is
unconditionally opposed to the death penalty and other forms of cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment, and campaigns for these to be removed
from all penal codes without exception. The organization takes no position on
the ideological or religious basis of any penal code.

Darfur has been the scene of complex strife between ethnic groups, and frequent
armed robberies by bandits, for many years. The region is prone to a
proliferation of small arms, often aided by the government's strategy to arm
and support local ethnic groups as auxiliary forces to fight in its 19
years-old war against the main armed opposition Southern People's Liberation
Army. The government has extended and intensified the State of Emergency,
announced in December 1999 in Khartoum and renewed every year since, to
Northern and Southern Darfur provinces. Emergency or Special Courts were
established in May 2001 in both provinces to deal with offences such as armed
robbery, murder and possession and smuggling of weapons. These courts are
headed by two military judges and one civil judge and do not allow legal
representation for the accused. People convicted by these courts may appeal
within seven days to the District Chief Justice in Darfur.

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AI INDEX: AFR 54/013/2002     18 July 2002
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Further Documents

(AFR 54/020/2002) Sudan: Further Information on Imminent Execution/Torture/Unfair trial
(AFR 54/013/2002) Sudan: Imminent Execution/Torture/Unfair trial

Related Documents

(AFR 54/090/2003) Sudan: Amnesty International welcomes the release of political prisoners and calls for amendments to security legislation
(AFR 54/082/2003) Sudan: Further information on Fear for safety/incommunicado de tention/possible prisoners of conscience
(AFR 54/080/2003) Sudan: Public Appeal Case: No impunity for torturers
(AFR 54/079/2003) Sudan: Immediate steps to protect civilians and internally displaced persons in Darfur
(AFR 54/077/2003) Sudan: Fear for safety / fear of torture or ill-treatment / incommunicado detention
(AFR 54/078/2003) Sudan: Fear for safety / fear of torture or ill-treatment / incommunicado detention / medical concern

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