Middle East

Sudan rebel chiefs sentenced to death in absentia: lawyer

(FILES) - A picture dated June 29, 2011 shows soldiers of Sudan People's Liberation Movement's northern arm (SPLM) driving through the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan. AFP PHOTO/PHIL MOORE

KHARTOUM: A Sudanese court on Thursday sentenced to death in absentia a former governor who is now a rebel leader, along with another insurgent chief, a lawyer said.

"Seventeen people were sentenced in absentia to be executed by hanging. These include Malik Agar and Yassir Arman," said Al-Tigani Hassan, a lawyer who was present for the verdict in Singa town, the capital of Sennar state.

Agar, formerly Blue Nile state governor, is chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, and Arman is secretary general of the movement which has been fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile for almost three years.

The verdict came at the end of a nine-month trial, but also followed by 12 days the adjournment of African Union-mediated peace talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The two sides were deadlocked, said the AU.

It gave them until April 30 to reach a peace deal in the conflict which, according to the United Nations, has displaced or otherwise affected an estimated 1.2 million people.

Arman is head of the SPLM-N delegation at the talks.





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