A Sudanese court has sentenced 29 intelligence officers to death by hanging for torturing and killing a teacher.
Ahmad al-Khair, 36, was arrested and kept in custody due to taking part in the protests against former president Omar al-Bashir in February this year. His family were told by security officials that Ahmed al-Khair died from food poisoning but a state investigation later revealed he had died due to injuries sustained through beating.
Judge al-Sadik al-Amin al-Fek ruled that Ahmad al-Khair was beaten and tortured to death by detention centre officers in the Eastern state of Kassala reported Japan Times.
“His death was an inevitable consequence of the beating and torture,” the judge said.
Hundreds of people rallied outside the court in Omdurman, where the verdict was delivered on Monday. Many demonstrators hoisted national flags, banners and photos of Ahmad al-Khair and erupted into elation to celebrate the ruling.
Ahmed al-Khair’s brother Saad told reporters “This day is a victory for justice, a victory for all Sudanese and a victory for the revolution,” according to Reuters.
The ruling is welcomed by many parties as Sudan remains under international and national pressure to adopt transitional justice measures. Sudanese Professionals Associations (SPA), who were known to lead the uprising protests and currently hold a favourable relationship with the military, were among the many to applaud the ruling and insisted that it restored faith in the judiciary.
“With this ruling, the revolution will have paid off its debt to the martyrs a first time, to be followed as many times as the number of martyrs,” it said.
Ahmad al-Khair’s case was recognised nationally in Sudan and his killing galvanised protests against Bashir’s rule, with it being a key point and symbol in the uprising that brought together the fragmented African nation. Bashir was finally defeated and overthrown by the military for his abuse of power, money laundering and corruption violations after 30 years of rule.
Bashir was sentenced to two years imprisonment but human rights groups such as Amnesty International have called for Bashir to face trial at the Hague for his charges of war crimes and genocide in the early 2000’s.