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Sudanese protest against activist’s torture and killing

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 26, 2019, Sudanese protesters wave national flags as they chant slogans during an a sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum. – Sudan has experienced a whirlwind of change since its popular revolution kicked off two years ago, bringing an end to the three-decade reign of strongman Omar al-Bashir. But experts warn the country is now at a critical juncture as tensions have flared between the military and civilian leaders who share power in a fragile transitional government. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

Hundreds of Sudanese protested Tuesday against the torture and killing of a pro-democracy activist, allegedly by members of the powerful Rapid Support Forces paramilitary, an AFP journalist said.

Bahaa Eddine Nouri, 45, was snatched on December 16 from a cafe in the southern Khartoum district of Kalakla by men in plainclothes who were driving a vehicle without license plates, according to local media.

His body was found days later bearing signs of torture at a hospital morgue in Omdurman, the capital’s twin city, triggering a public outcry.

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Dozens of protesters initially gathered outside the hospital on Tuesday, carrying pictures of Nouri and banners demanding the alleged perpetrators face the gallows.

His family collected his body from the morgue and the protesters moved on with Nouri’s family to bury him, said an AFP journalist at the scene.

“Enough with disparaging the people’s blood,” read one banner, also referring to the protesters killed during months of unprecedented demonstrations in 2019.

Those months-long, youth-led protests spurred the military to depose autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

The rallies continued for months afterwards as civilians demanded the generals hand over power, culminating in a fragile power-sharing arrangement from August last year.

State news agency SUNA reported on Monday that the Rapid Support Forces had referred its intelligence chief and other personnel for questioning over Nouri’s arrest and killing, without providing names.

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It later quoted the prosecutor’s office as saying that proceedings were underway to “arrest immediately… all members of the Rapid Support Forces involved in the arrest and subsequent death of Nouri so they can be prosecuted”.

Tuesday’s demonstration later swelled in number and moved on to a building in the north of Khartoum where Nouri is alleged to have been held and tortured.

“Nouri’s case is one of a string of crimes committed in the name of the state outside the realm of the law,” lawyer Walaa Salah told AFP at the second rally.

Another protester, Khaled Abidi, said protesters were demanding an “end to impunity”.

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The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) — an umbrella group which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests — said that the ordering of criminal charges against Nouri’s killers by the prosecutor’s office represented a “step” forward.

Late Monday, RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo ordered the lifting of immunity on personnel allegedly involved in the case.

Daglo is a senior member of both the original military council that replaced Bashir and the subsequent power-sharing ruling body.

The RSF largely drew its personnel from the Janjaweed militias, which were accused by rights groups of committing atrocities in the Darfur conflict that began in 2003.

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Bahaa Eddine NouriSudan
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