A Sudanese court on Monday sentenced 29 intelligence officers to death for torturing and killing a teacher. Ahmad al-Khair, 36, died in custody in February following his arrest for taking part in protests against former President Omar al-Bashir’s administration.
These were the first sentences handed down over the crackdown on pro-democracy activists in the months before Bashir was toppled in April. The prosecution said the death sentences were a just punishment.
After the sentencing, the judge asked al-Khair’s brother, Sa’d, whether he wanted the 29 men to be pardoned – but he said he wanted them to be executed instead. A lawyer for the defence said he would appeal the ruling.
Under Bashir, Sudan enforced the death penalty, and two people were executed in 2018. Al-Khair’s case drew widespread attention in Sudan, and his killing fuelled the protests against the 75-year-old former president.
A huge crowd rallied outside the court in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital, Khartoum, to hear the verdict. The court found that Al-Khair was beaten and tortured to death by the officers at a detention centre in the eastern state of Kassala.
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