Sudanese judges and prosecutors denounce protest crackdowns

Frequent protests since the Oct. 25 takeover have been met with live gunfire and tear gas. — Reuters pic
Frequent protests since the Oct. 25 takeover have been met with live gunfire and tear gas. — Reuters pic

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KHARTOUM, Jan 20 — Dozens of Sudanese judges and prosecutors have condemned the killing of more than 70 protesters since a military takeover in October and have called for investigations, in rare public statements released today.

Frequent protests since the Oct. 25 takeover have been met with live gunfire and tear gas. At least 72 civilians have died and more than 2,000 have been injured, according to medics aligned with the protest movement.

Military leaders have said the right to peaceful protest is protected and have commissioned investigations into the bloodshed. Sudanese police say they have faced aggression from protesters.

A statement from 55 judges to the head of the judiciary said military leaders had “violated agreements and covenants since the October 25 coup, as they have carried out the most heinous violations against defenceless protesters”.

They called for an end to the violence and a criminal investigation.

It is unusual for Sudan’s judges and prosecutors to make public statements about the conduct of the security forces.

Separately, more than 100 prosecutors announced they would stop work from Thursday in support of their call for security forces to cease violations and lift a state of emergency. They stated their opposition to a recent emergency order that offered immunity and wider powers to security forces.

They also noted that prosecutors had been unable to carry out their legal duty to accompany police to protests and determine the acceptable use of force.

A further group of 48 other prosecutors called for an investigation of alleged violations against protesters, and for prosecutors to be able to monitor protests.

Asked for comment, Acting Information Ministry Minister Nasreldin Ahmed noted that military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had ordered an investigation into seven protester deaths on Monday and a probe was under way.

The deaths triggered strikes, civil disobedience and the erection of new street barricades this week, as well as protests that began early afternoon on Thursday in eastern Khartoum.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Writing by Nafisa Eltahir, Editing by William Maclean)

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