Sudan

Families refuse Sudan's settlement for slain protesters in 2013

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A family member of one of the victims of the September 2013 protests has denied that the families of the martyrs have accepted financial compensations for their losses, as announced by Sudan's Minister of Justice last week.

Abdelbagi El Khidir, who lost his daughter Sarah during the mass protests against the lifting of fuel subsidies in several Sudanese cities in 2013, told Radio Dabanga that the families of the martyrs refuse the approved settlement by the Justice Minister Awad Hassan El Nur.

“The file is still pending before the court of appeal. The Minister's statement on competing it and acceptation of the blood money is unfounded,” according to El Khidir, saying that he went to the office of the Ministry but that the officials refused to speak to him.

“If some affected families accept the settlement, they only represent themselves,” the father stressed. “Our families have asked the Constitutional Court to interrogate the police and security agents ourselves, and a number of witnesses await to be heard before the court.”

Demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese states on 23 September 2013 following the government’s decision to lift fuel subsidies. The authorities responded by using tear gas, rubber and live bullets. Rights groups said that at least 200 people were killed in Khartoum only. The government put the death toll at 85.

SDG4 million compensation

Justice Minister Awad Hassan El Nur told reporters last week that his Ministry completed the file of the financial compensation for the families of the martyrs. He estimated the total amount of blood money at SDG4 million ($651,890) for 82 killed protesters. He said that three families have refused to receive blood money and adhered to retribution.

El Nur added that the total costs of damages during the incidents in September 2013 have amounted to SDG35 million (more than $5.7 million).

Charging perpetrators

In August 2015, after a silence for almost two years, President Omar Al Bashir ordered the payment of compensation to the relatives of the slain demonstrators and those whose businesses were affected by the protests. A lawyer of the families said that the responsibility for these crimes cannot be settled by providing compensation alone. “Perpetrators have to be identified and charged firstly. Payments are supposed to be done in the final stage.”

The British charge d’affaires and the French consul in Khartoum visited a number of families of demonstrators late September. They called upon the Sudanese government to conduct an independent investigation into the September protests. While welcoming the government’s decision to compensate the families of the victims, they noted that justice cannot be achieved by financial measures only.