Update (7) COURT TRIAL OF NISS/SUDAN AGAINST PASTORS AND ACTIVIST
The eights (8th) court proceedings started at 12:50 pm on 17thOctober 2016 and the hearing was before Justice Dr. Osama M. Abdalla, with the presence of all parties under tight security arrangements. The prosecutor displayed audio recordings, video exhibit and submitted a translated document for both. Thereafter, the accusing panel exchange questions with the investigator. The judge later adjourned court to 24thOctober 2016.
Summary of the court session
The session was presided over by Justice Dr. Osama M. Abdalla at Khartoum Centre Court, and all parties were present. The investigator counsel/ Abdurrahman displayed video and audio recordings which contained the following;
- The video showed a meeting between the first, second and third defendant at Ali Musa’s House in Alhaj Yousif. In the meeting the first defendant discussed with Ali Musa about the way he was burnt and the third defendant was interpreting. The video also shows the first defendant taking photos of the burnt student.
- In the audio recordings, the first and the fourth defendant (Abduelmoneim) had a conversation at Afraa mall, in which Abduelmoneim explained how he together with Ali Musa converted to Christianity from Islam.
Thereafter, the accusing panel exchanged with the investigator/ prosecutor through a series of questions like;
Accusing panel; why did you interrogate the first (1st) defendant?
Investigator: Because his first visit to Sudan in 2012 through South Sudan boarder with PPF group was illegal and they visited many areas in Nuba Mountains and they met some people including rebels. During that visit, they tried to confirm the allegation of oppression, torture and forced Islamisation of Nuba people. According to my interrogation with photo evidence, they provided logistical, physical and moral support to SPLA-N. He also submitted a report about allegations to international institutions particularly the head office of the 1st defendant’s organization. That the 1st defendant’s second visit to Sudan, was in 2015 using tourism visa while he particularly came to investigate the issue of the demolished churches and the student who was burnt.
Accusing panel: Is there any joint act between the first defendant and Brad Philips?
Investigator: According to the interrogation of the first defendant I got to know the name of Steve, Brad and Marshance. The 1st defendant had also declared that, Brad is his colleague at two organizations PPF and POM.
Accusing panel: While entering Sudan in 2012, what kind of vehicle did they use?
Investigator: They entered with a vehicle designed as an ambulance and it had South Sudan number plate. The first defendant is not shown on that vehicle but, the photos and the dates can approve that he was in that group.
Accusing panel: Where are the headquarters of the two organizations PPF and POM?
Investigator: They are in USA.
Accusing panel: Is there any impact caused by the reports submitted by PPF and POM?
Investigator: Yes, the reports clearly tarnished the image of Sudan internationally in political, economic and military terms.
Accusing panel: who attended Addis Ababa conference?
Investigator: The first, second and third defendants.
Accusing panel: what about the student who was burnt?
Investigator: He was burnt during student demonstration by Molotov and he does not know who threw it at him.
Accusing panel: what is the role of the third defendant?
Investigator: He presented a report in the conference citing that, there is a church that was demolished at Alezba in Khartoum North.
Accusing panel: what is the role of the fourth defendant?
Investigator: He is the person who passed on the photos of the burned student which were used in Addis Ababa conference by the second defendant. He is the person who alleged that, the student converted to Christianity and he is the same person who facilitated the meeting between them and the burned student.
At 02:25 pm the investigator requested the judge to adjourn court session since he was tired. The judge granted his request and adjourned court to 24th October 2016.
- The security was tight and keen. The defendants’ supporters, activist and their families were not allowed in the courtroom. They were ordered to leave the court premises which forced them to wait under the bridge adjacent to court.
- The defendants’ lawyers are not in agreement or coordinated. The conflict is on who shall represent the 4th defendant and about the court procedure.
- The observers indicated that the judge got irritated when the defendants’ lawyers disagreed.
- The first defendant’s lawyer objected to the written translation and asked the judge for legal explanation for the written paper.
- The defendants sitting order on the bench had changed.
- HUDO urges the Sudan court to conduct this trial fairly.
- HUDO urges all the diplomatic missions and embassies to continue attending the court sessions.
- HUDO calls upon the activists and defendants’ supporters to keep attending the trial.
- HUDO calls on the defendants’ lawyers to organize their efforts.
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