Sunday, December 4, 2011
Court Sudan orders release detainees accused of collaboration Radio Dabanga. A Khartoum court today released three Darfurians accused of collaborating with Radio Dabanga, an independent radio station reporting on the situation in Darfur. They are part of a group of seven Darfurians who were first arrested in 2010 by the Sudanese security services and were repeatedly tortured during their detention.

The court dismissed the prosecution’s charges against four of the defendants: Zakaria Yagoub, Abdelrahman al Gassim, Khalid Ishaq and Adam al Nur Adam. Three others, Abdelrahman Adam Abdelrahman, Gaafer al Sabky, and Kwather Abdel Haj were ordered released, but remain charged with the lesser offenses of 'undermining security and public order' and 'spreading lies', which carry a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment.  The seven originally faced charges including conspiracy against the state and espionage, punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment.

In October 2010 the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested 14 Darfurians for alleged involvement with Radio Dabanga. Several detainees were released without charge after several months detention. The others were held in detention at undisclosed locations. In June 2011 charges were brought against the remaining seven. The prosecutor alleged that the detainees had been illegally broadcasting from a studio in Khartoum.  Court sessions were repeatedly delayed at the prosecution’s request as witnesses could not be produced. 

On December 4 the court heard from prosecution witnesses and allowed cross-examination of the detainees, before moving to dismiss most charges.  The next court session is scheduled for December 13 on the lesser charges of threatening security and public order (article 63 of the Penal Code) and spreading lies (article 66). 

Mohammed Abdullah Duma, spokesman of the defense team told Radio Dabanga that they are happy with the Court's decision to dismiss most charges and to release the detainees. He says that the defense is confident that the remaining charges will not lead to any convictions since the prosecutor 'failed to provide any evidence whatsoever'.