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Sudan sentences 27 soldiers to death

December 30, 2019

The members of Sudan's security forces tortured and killed a teacher protesting against the government. The teacher's murder is considered a pivotal moment in the run up to Omar al-Bashir's ouster.

A Sudanese soldier stands guard as demonstrators attend a protest rally demanding Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to step down outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum
Image: Reuters

A Sudanese court on Monday sentenced 27 members of the country's security services to death for torturing and killing a schoolteacher during mass anti-government protests.

Those convicted included policemen working at the jail where the teacher was murdered and members of Sudan's intelligence services.

Sudanese police had initially claimed he had died from illness but a state investigation days afterward pointed to torture.

Protesters were seen outside the court on Monday waving Sudanese flags and carrying photos of the late teacher. However, they can still appeal the conviction.

Read more: Sudan plots path towards democracy

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Deadly crackdown

The teacher's death marked a turning point for the uprising, effectively becoming a rallying cry against security forces' brutal repression of protesters.

Nearly 200 protesters were killed since protests erupted a year ago. The government recently fulfilled a key demand from protesters by appointing independent judges and investigating the killing of protesters.

Succumbing to months of civil unrest, the Sudanese military earlier this year removed longtime ruler al-Bashir from power in a move widely seen as a power struggle between security services and the armed forces.

The protests initially targeted rising food prices but quickly morphed into a sustained challenge against al-Bashir's 30-year rule.

Read more: Opinion: Is the Middle East seeing a new Arab Spring?

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ls/aw (AP, Reuters)

A previous version of this article said the defendants were sentenced to jail time, not death.