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Sudan CSW concerned by delays in trial of four men

2 Nov 2016

The trial of Reverend Hassan Abduraheem, Reverend Kuwa Shamal, Mr Petr Jašek and Mr Abdulmonem Abdumawla has been postponed for the second time in two weeks in the latest in a series of delays that are raising concerns regarding their right to a fair trial.

 

The hearing, which was due to take place on 31 October in Khartoum, was rescheduled for 3 November, as the judge was absent. Last week, a hearing scheduled for 24 October was postponed to 31 October, because the judge was out of the country.

 

These postponements follow several unnecessary delays in the case. The last hearing on 17 October was preceded by a three-week adjournment for the translation of documents. Prior to that, hearings had been postponed due to the absence of either the judge or prosecution, and the failure of the prison service to transport the men to court.

 

The four men are charged jointly with at least seven crimes, including waging war against the state (Article 51 of the Sudanese Criminal Code) and espionage (Article 53), which carry the death penalty as the maximum sentence. While trial proceedings started in August 2016, Reverend Abduraheem, Mr Jašek and Mr Abdumawla have been in detention since December 2015, and Reverend Shamal has been detained since May 2016.

 

The case against Reverend Abduraheem, Mr Jašek and Mr Abdumawla centres on the provision of finances for the medical needs of Mr Ali Omer, a young man from Darfur who was injured in a demonstration in 2013. The prosecution alleges that the USD$5,000 Mr Jašek donated towards Mr Omer’s treatment was in reality support for rebel movements in the South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur regions.

 

By framing the case in this manner the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has sought to exploit the ethnic origins of Reverends Abduraheem and Shamal, who are from the Nuba Mountains, and Mr Abdumawal, who is from Darfur. Reverend Shamal was not involved in fundraising for Mr Omer’s treatment but appears to have been included in the case due to his senior position in the Sudan Church of Christ, his relationship with Reverend Abduraheem and his ethnicity.


CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “We are concerned by the continuing delays in the trial of Reverend Hassan Abduraheem, Reverend Kuwa Shamal, Mr Petr Jašek and Mr Abdulmonem Abdumawla. Fair trial principles stipulate that criminal proceedings should occur within a reasonable time. In this case, the constant postponements due to the absence of the judge or prosecutor or failure to transport the men to court are prolonging proceedings unnecessarily, which is  unacceptable, given the length of time these men have already spent in custody. We continue to call for the unconditional and immediate release of these unjustly detained men. In the event the trial continues, we urge the government of Sudan to ensure it proceeds in line with fair trial principles outlined in article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, to which Sudan is a party.


Notes to Editors:

1. Click here to join in CSW's campaign on this case.

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