88 Face Death by Crucifixion or Hanging in Sudan

Islamic Courts Impose Sentence for Attacks on Villages

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ROME, AUG. 27, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Khartoum government has refused to commute the death sentence imposed by an Islamic court on 88 members of a tribe in western Sudan for attacking a village and killing members of a rival clan.



Ali Mohammed Osman Yasin, the Minister of Justice, said the sentences are in "accord with stipulations in the Koran."

The government's statements follow an Amnesty International report that said "special courts" in Nyala on July 17 condemned the 88 people, including two minors, to death by hanging or crucifixion.

The 88 are accused of murder, armed robbery and disruption of public order, all related to recent confrontations between the Rizeigat and Maalayia ethnic groups in Southern Darfur.

A week later the same courts condemned 15 others to death, including a woman, for alleged attacks against two villages, reports said. The 15 were accused of murder, banditry and illegal possession of firearms.

Gadim Hamdoum Hamid and Kabashi Alayan, the two minors convicted in the first case, are both 14. "All the accused in this case were tried without proper legal assistance and, according to reports, some were tortured before the trial," Amnesty International stated.

The special courts were established in Darfur in virtue of an extraordinary state declared in 1998, which allows for considerable disregard of Sudan's Criminal Proceedings Law. "The extraordinary state also constitutes a violation of international norms in just trials," Amnesty International added.

The group also reported that on Aug. 11 the president of the Carfur Court rejected an appeal presented by those convicted, which they must now appeal before El Obeid Higher Court. Their last recourse would be the Constitutional Court.