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Sudanese jailed 3-5 years for protest arson, looting

AFP , Tuesday 10 Dec 2013
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Three Sudanese have been jailed for three to five years for arson and looting during fuel-price protests in September, police said Tuesday.

Theirs were among the first major sentences handed down for the worst urban unrest of President Omar al-Bashir's 24-year rule.

The court in the Khartoum-area district of Ombada convicted them of attacking a commercial centre, Khartoum State Police said on their website.

The police statement also said two people were fined and sentenced to three years in jail for setting fire to a police station.

However it did not give the names of any of the accused or specify whether the two events were linked.

Demonstrations began on September 23 after Bashir slashed petrol subsidies, raising pump prices by more than 60 percent.

Thousands took to the streets with calls for the downfall of the regime.

Security forces are believed to have killed more than 200 demonstrators, many with gunshots to the head and chest, according to Amnesty International.

Authorities gave a toll of less than half that and said they had to intervene when crowds turned violent, attacking petrol stations and police facilities.

The government initially said it had detained 700 "criminals" after the protests but authorities later said most had been released.

Fifty-eight would be brought to court, Bashir said in late October.

Judges have thrown out protest-related charges against 32 other people, according to a tally of cases followed by AFP.

But among the few convicted was Sudanese author Rania Mamoun, who last week said she was found guilty and fined for "disturbance" during the protests.

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