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Investigator at trial of Sudan opposition leaders contradicts prosecutors

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March 9, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The investigator of the case of opposition leader Farouk Abu Issa and a prominent rights activist Amin Mekki Medani acknowledged that the “Sudan Call” charter has not included provisions calling for waging war or holding arms against the state.

Farouk Abu Issa, head of the opposition parties alliance, speaks to the press on 12 June 2012 (ST)

Abu Issa and Medani are in jail since more than two months for signing a joint political declaration the “Sudan Call” with the rebel umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the opposition National Umma Party (NUP).

They are currently being tried before a special terrorism court set up by the chief justice according to the provision of the Terrorism Act on the grounds that charges filed against them include terrorism charges.

Six charges have been filed against them among which article (51) of the criminal code relating to waging war against the state and article (50) undermining the constitutional order, both crimes are punishable by death.

Abu Issa is 81 years old, while Medani is 75 years old.

Lieut. Col. Mohamed Khair Ibrahim, the investigator of the case said in the trial session on Monday that interpretation of the provisions of the “Sudan Call” charter which is the subject of the charges needs a technical body or strategic expert.

He denied that the “Sudan Call” charter included any provisions calling for bearing arms or waging war or armed opposition, stressing there is no direct correlation between the charter and documents collected from Medani’s work place.

The prosecution had provided nine documents in the previous court session to prove Abu Issa and Medani’s involvement in an attempt to undermine the ruling regime by force and in collaboration with the rebel armed groups.

The investigator also pointed out that the SRF has been fighting against the state for several years.

He said that Medani acknowledged receipt of a letter from the head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, in which he thanked signatories of the “Sudan Call” for accepting his invitation, adding the former also said he received an invitation from the Nairobi-based Human Development Center (HDC).

The investigator also said that Abu Issa received an invitation from the Geneva-based Humanitarian Dialogue Initiative (HDI).

The representative of the defence team, Nabeel Adeeb, for his part, asked the court to allow for sending Mbeki’s letter to the unit of translation at the University of Khartoum (UofK) for translation.

The prosecution objected to the defence request, saying the document should be presented at a later stage during the trial.

However, the prosecution agreed to another defence request regarding translation of the African Union Peace and Security Council’s (AUPSC) Communiqué 456 of 12 September 2014.

Sources close to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) say prominent figures in the party and the Islamic Movement approached Bashir asking him to release the two detainees.

Bashir since last January agreed to release them following a request by the opposition parties participating in the national dialogue however the justice minister referred their case to a special court.

Later the Sudanese leader said he is willing to set them free if they apologise.

(ST)

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