Sudanese officer sentenced to death for 2019 killing of protester

Sudanese officer sentenced to death for 2019 killing of protester
A court in Khartoum has sentenced a senior officer from the notorious Rapid Support Forces to death for the killing of a protester after the bloody dispersal of a sit-in outside the Sudanese army headquarters in 2019.
2 min read
25 May, 2021
Demonstrations in Khartoum commemorate the deaths of peaceful protestors at the sit-in two years ago [AFP Getty Images]

A senior officer from Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has been found guilty of killing a young man during protests that followed the brutal suppression of a sit-in demonstration two years ago near the headquarters of the Sudanese army in Khartoum.

A court in Khartoum sentenced the officer to death by hanging after finding him guilty of murdering protester Hanafi Abdel Shakour.

The incident happened on 3 June 2019 in the city of Omdurman west of Khartoum, just hours after the violent dispersal by the RSF of a sit-in protest outside the Sudanese army headquarters in Khartoum.

Demonstrations had broken out in various parts of the Sudanese capital and surrounding cities following the dispersal of the sit-in, which left over 100 people dead.

Eyewitnesses told the court that the accused officer had run over Abdel Shakour with his military jeep and then fled the scene.

Before the sentence was announced, Judge Salah Mahjoub asked AbdelShakour’s family if they wished to pardon the officer or take a payment of "blood money".

However, the family rejected these options, demanding the officer be punished, and the judge issued the execution sentence.

The Rapid Support Forces, which are led by powerful  General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the Deputy Chairman of Sudan's Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC), are paramilitary forces operated by the Sudanese government.

They began as a militia in the Darfur region in 2006 but they have since expanded. 

The previous Sudanese regime of ousted President Omar Bashir turned them into an official apparatus and granted them wide-ranging powers.

Monday’s court judgement is the second case of its kind against members of the Sudanese security forces.

Last year, a Sudanese court sentenced 29 members of the National Intelligence and Security Service to death for of the killing and torture of Ahmed al-Kheir, a secondary school teacher from the Khashm al-Qirba region of Eastern Sudan, during a period of protest against former President Bashir.

Bashir was deposed in April 2019 after nearly 30 years in power following mass demonstrations against his autocratic rule. 

On Sunday the National Investigation Committee of Sudan confirmed that it would release a comprehensive final report on the events which took place during the dispersal of the sit-in protest in 2019.