December 16, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese court rejected appeal by four men who were sentenced to death for assassinating a USAID employee and his driver last year prompting angry reaction from their families.
The newspaper for the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Al-Raed said that the convicts’ capital punishment was upheld and in addition to that they were also required to pay money and damages to the vehicle that the victims were riding when they were shot at.
This year, five men believed to be belonging to an Islamic militant group called Ansar al-Tawhid were found guilty of killing John Granville and his Sudanese driver Abdel Rahman Abbas Rahma on 2008 New Years Eve after opening fire on them from a car.
Only four of the five men were sentenced to death last June by hanging while the fifth was sentenced to two years in prison because his role was limited to supplying the weapon for the attack.
The US administration at the time welcomed the verdict by the Sudanese court.
The defendants sought an overrule of the death penalty by the appeals court particularly after it was reported that the driver’s family waived their right to request that the men be executed in accordance with Islamic Shari’a law.
Following today’s decision, the families of the assassins accused the court of ruling based on political considerations rather than judicial ones.
Osman Yusuf, father of Mohannaed told Al-Raed that the visit by a US delegation influenced the fate of their appeal. He also expressed surprise that the court would endorse the death penalty and death money concurrently.
Islamic Shari’a law affords another alternative to capital punishment which includes blood money as compensation if the families of the victims accept.
Granville’s money insisted that the death penalty imposed upon the four men saying that it is “the only sentence that safeguards the lives of others”.