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Death Sentence Against Darfur Rebels Will Deepen Sudan Crisis, Says JEM

March 20, 2012

Peter Clottey

A leading member of the Darfur-based Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has condemned as illegal a Sudan court ruling that sentenced six members of the group to death.

Ahmed Hussein Adam, JEM’s foreign secretary, also called on human right groups and the international community to pressure the Sudanese government not to carry out the sentence.

“JEM strongly condemns this illegal and criminal judgment or sentence issued by one of the government’s courts,” said Adam. “JEM doesn’t recognize this court because [the ruling is] against the law and against international humanitarian law.”

A Sudanese court Tuesday sentenced to death six members of the rebel group after they were charged with committing criminal acts including terrorism, murder and illegally carrying arms. Among the rebels is Ibrahim al-Maz, a leading member of the group. A 76-year-old member of the group was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Adam dismissed the ruling as illegal.

“Where is the law? If there is a law, [President] al-Bashir would now be before the International Criminal Court. If there is law, Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, the defense minister should now be before the International Criminal Court,” continued Adam.

Adam said the rebels are prisoners of war and should be treated under “international humanitarian law under the Geneva convention.” He said they should not be subjected to such rulings.

“It is not a surprise that the government that committed genocide against the people of Darfur …can make this kind of judgment,” said Adam.

He said the rebel group has so far released over 400 prisoners of war from the Sudanese army following clashes with government forces.

“This sentence against our prisoners of war is going to complicate things in Sudan and is actually going to deepen the crisis in Sudan,” continued Adam. “That’s why I call on the international community, the United Nations and all concerned human rights international organizations to act and to intervene to stop this illegal [act] against these prisoners of war.”

The Hague-based International Criminal Court has indicted both the Sudanese leader and the defense minister among others in the administration of orchestrating genocide against the people of Darfur.

Adam said the court ruling is a diversionary tactic employed by Khartoum.

“They can use it to unify their party, which is so divided right now. And you know the ruling party is so desperate because the economy is collapsing and the people of Sudan now want a democratic change. So, they want to divert attention with this kind of sentence,” said Adam.

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