Sudan blamed for death of sick Darfur rebel

Amnesty International accused Sudan of torturing and denying treatment to a man convicted of taking part in a Darfur rebel attack, saying Khartoum was to blame for his death in hospital.
Sudan dismissed the report, saying the man had been cared for and died a “normal death” after falling ill.
Ahmed Suleiman was one of more than 100 men sentenced to death after being convicted of taking part in an attack on Khartoum by Darfur’s rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in May 2008, the rights groups said in a statement.
Suleiman, in his late twenties, was taken from Khartoum’s Kober prison two days before he died of tuberculosis in a police hospital last week, said Amnesty.
“His body was still in shackles and showed evidence of torture. He had also been suffering from a lung infection for a long time but was refused access to a specialised doctor by the prison despite requests by his lawyer,” read the organisation’s statement.
“The Sudanese government was responsible for the death,” it added.
Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman Moawia Osman Khalid told Reuters an investigation had been launched into the death but denied there had been any torture or mistreatment.
“He was ill. He was taken to the hospital. He received the necessary treatments. But unfortunately he died. It was a normal death,” said Khalid.
JEM confirmed Suleiman was one of its members but said he had not taken part in the attack on Khartoum.
“His condition deteriorated under duress and torture,” said senior JEM official Al-Tahir al-Feki. “We consider him a martyr.”
Sudan’s government and JEM agreed to exchange prisoners as part of a goodwill agreement this year at the start of now stalled peace discussions in Doha.
But a government official told the state Sudan Vision newspaper yesterday JEM releases would only be ordered following concrete progress in talks and an end to hostilities on the ground. JEM has released some government captives.
Fighting flared in Darfur in 2003 after JEM and other rebels took up arms against Sudan’s government accusing it of neglecting the remote western region.

Pic: Random Darfur rebel