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Sudan maintains rebels’ trial before military courts

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Abdul Aziz Ashr, brother-in-law of Justice and JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim (R), and unidentified co-defendants are seen here at a court hearing in North Khartoum in which the top Darfur rebel and seven others were sentenced to death on 17 August 2008 (AFP)

April 19, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s cabinet Thursday decided to maintain the trial of rebels and armed group before military courts, brushing aside an amendment proposed by the Justice Ministry, to try them before civilian courts.

In line with the implementation of the recommendations of the national dialogue conference, Sudanese Minister of Justice Idriss Jamil Tuesday submitted to an extraordinary cabinet meeting a draft bill related to the abolition of the death penalty in political issues and the trial of rebels by civilian courts.

But the second amendment provoked a debate among the ministers, as many, including the state minister for defence saying it gives the rebels a privilege they did not deserve and encourage them to rebel against the government. Following what the First Vice President Bakri Hassan Saleh who is also the Prime Minister decided to postpone the meeting until Thursday for further consultations.

"The government decided that the holders of arms who received a military training and fought against the state would be tried before the military court," the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Omer Mohamed Saleh, told reporters after the regular cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The draft bill provides to amend article 50 of the Criminal Code of 1991 and to add of a new clause stating that "the death penalty shall not be imposed for the expression of political opinion".

The bill will be lodged with the parliament during the upcoming weeks for deliberation and adoption before to be a law.

Sudan is one of the few countries in the world that use death punishment against political opponents.

(ST)

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