Published on February 17th, 2013 | by Ryan Aliman0
Darfuri Activist’s10-year Sentence Modified to Death Penalty Without Hearing
By Ryan Aliman
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
KHARTOUM, Sudan – Human rights group Amnesty International demands the Sudanese government to halt the execution of local activist Bakri Moussa Mohammed.
Three years ago, Mohammed, a community activist who hails from Darfur, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for murder. However, his sentence was revised to death penalty last year without any court hearing.
“We believe Bakri Moussa Mohammed is at imminent risk of being hanged and we implore the Sudanese authorities to act immediately to stop the execution, through whatever means available,” urged Amnesty International’s Africa director Netsanet Belay.
Belay also questions the grounds for modifying Mohammed’s sentence. According to him, “the vague circumstances of the change in Bakri’s sentence are a clear violation of fair trial standards.”
On December 31, 2012, almost three years after his imprisonment, Mohammed was informed by a prison officer that his sentence was changed to death penalty. On the same day, he was transferred to death row and brought to the gallows before being told by Sudanese authorities that his execution would be postponed for 35 days.
According to Amnesty International, that deadline has now passed. The human rights organization fears that Mohammed may be hanged any day this week.
Mohammed’s family join Amnesty International in calling on the Sudanese government to stop Mohammed’s execution. His family suspect that his transfer to death row was purely a political decision. They believe that it was the government’s way of punishing Mohammed for his protests against the current administration. They reasoned that the victim’s family already agreed to take blood money, totaling 60,000 Sudanese pounds, in lieu of capital punishment. In fact, the victim’s family already received 17,000 Sudanese pounds from them as a first installment, insisted Mohammed’s father. Thus, they do not see why Mohammed has to be executed.
“The Sudanese authorities have serious questions to answer about the revision of this sentence. Trials for crimes carrying the death penalty must comply with the most rigorous internationally recognized standards for fair trial,” said Netsnanet Belay. In a recent press release by Amnesty International, the group pointed out that international law prohibits any execution after a trial which does not meet international fair trial standards. In addition, any person sentenced to death also has the right to request a pardon or commutation of a death sentence.
“Those rules appear to have been flouted in the case of Bakri Moussa Mohammed, whom we fear is being persecuted solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly,” Belay added.
For further information, please see:
Amnesty International – Sudan must save Darfuri activist from imminent execution – 15 February 2013
Sudan Radio – Activist’s Family Calls for Halt to His Execution; Says it Paid Blood Money – 14 February 2013
Sudan Tribune – Darfur activist placed on death row – 14 February 2013
Amnesty International – Sudan: Darfur Activist at Imminent Risk of Execution: Bakri Moussa Mohammed – 13 February 2013