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Sudan: Execution of nine potentially innocent men deplored

Amnesty International has deplored the execution of nine people yesterday in Sudan, saying that the nine men may have been innocent.

There are concerns that the nine hanged men were convicted of the September 2006 murder of newspaper editor Mohamed Taha after being tortured into making false confessions.

The men - Ishaq Mohammed Sanousi, Abdel Hay Omar, Mustafa Adam,Mohammed Birgid, Hassan Adam Fadel, Adam Ibrahim, Jamaleddin Isa, Abdel Magid Ali Abdel Magid and Sabir Hassan - said they had been tortured to confess to the murder and were forced to sign confessions, which were later produced in court.

In court they all retracted their confessions but Sudan’s Appeals Court still accepted these as evidence against the nine. On 2 April Sudan’s Constitutional Court confirmed the men’s death sentences.

Requests by defence lawyers for medical examinations into the allegations of torture were refused, even though many of men had marks of torture.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Africa Programme Director Tawanda Hondora said:

“The execution of the nine men is outrageous. They were arbitrarily arrested, tortured and then subjected to an unfair trial.

“This case is a tragic example of what happens when an irreversible punishment such as the death penalty is applied. The Sudanese authorities must abolish the death penalty immediately.”

Amnesty International’s recently published report on global use of capital punishment recorded only one confirmed execution in Sudan during 2008 (though the actual figure may have been higher). Meanwhile, there were at least seven executions in Sudan in 2007.

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