A Sudanese court has sentenced six officials of the paramilitary group, Rapid Support Forces, to death for killing six teenage protesters during the June 2019 demonstrations over fuel and food shortages in Elobeid, North Kurdufan State.
The victims were part of a student protest demanding a faster transition to democratic rule after an uprising that toppled veteran President Omar al-Bashir.
Judge Ahmed Hassan al-Rahma, while giving judgement on the shooting of the protesters, who included four schoolchildren, said the RSF members used unnecessary and excessive force.
The court added that the defendants broke RSF law and “their actions have no relation to the forces they were part of.”
Two other RSF officers were also acquitted since they did not carry weapons and attempted to prevent the fatal shootings.
The court sent one of the nine RSF personnel initially charged to a juvenile court to determine his sentence because he was a minor at the time of the crime.
The prosecution of RSF members – which is commanded by the deputy head of Sudan’s transitional government – over these and other alleged killings is seen as a test of the government’s commitment to democratisation after years of autocratic Islamist rule.
The RSF, which arose from the Janjaweed militias loyal to Bashir during the early 2000s Darfur conflict, was widely accused of the post-uprising bloodshed.
In May, another RSF member, who ran over a protester soon after June’s attack, was convicted and sentenced to death in May.
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