Sudan man accused of aiding Darfur war crime court

The intelligence officer said Ibrahim had been trying to find documents to "fabricate a relationship" between Sudan's state minister for humanitarian affairs.

Sudan man accused of aiding Darfur war crime court

A Sudanese man appeared in court on Monday accused of working to overthrow the state by passing on documents about a Darfur war crimes suspect to the International Criminal Court.

Lawyers said Mohamed Alsary Ibrahim was the first person in Sudan to be prosecuted for cooperating with the ICC and faces death by hanging if convicted.

An officer from Sudanese military intelligence told Khartoum north court Ibrahim offered to pay a contact $10,000 for documents that might incriminate a government minister wanted for masterminding a series of atrocities in Darfur.

The intelligence officer, Omar Abdel, said Ibrahim had been trying to find documents to "fabricate a relationship" between Ahmed Haroun, Sudan's state minister for humanitarian affairs, and the "Janjaweed", pro-government militias accused of war crimes in Darfur.

The ICC has already issued arrest warrants for Haroun and a Darfur militia leader. Sudan, which is not a signed-up member of the international court, has refused to hand them over.

In July, the ICC's chief prosecutor also asked judges to issue a warrant for Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accusing him of orchestrating genocide in the region.

Sudanese government officials have repeatedly described the ICC as a tool of western powers bent on overthrowing the Khartoum government.

International experts estimate the war in Darfur has killed some 200,000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003.

Cash for documents

Abdel told the Khartoum court on Monday Ibrahim had been offered money in exchange for incriminating documents by a group of Sudanese and Jordanian nationals, all with joint U.S. citizenship, that he had met during a trip to Dubai.

Abdel said Ibrahim approached an officer in Sudan's Popular Police Force in June and asked him to get hold of a bundle of documents on training camps run by the organisation in Darfur.

At the height of the Darfur conflict, Haroun was state minister in the Ministry of Interior, a body with responsibility for Sudan's police forces.

The ICC indictment against Haroun accuses him of funding and visiting camps in Darfur used for the training and arming of government-backed militias. Haroun denies all the charges.

Abdel, answering questions from defence and prosecution lawyers, said the police officer tipped off military intelligence about Ibrahim's request. Officers set up a sting operation and arrested Ibrahim the next day, he added.

Abdel said officers found evidence Ibrahim had already emailed a number of documents to his Sudanese-American contacts, who had specifically asked him for documents the ICC could use.

Ibrahim faces seven charges under Sudanese criminal law including working to overthrow the constitutional government, waging war against the state, dealing with an enemy country, spying and passing on confidential military documents. Lawyers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said people convicted of the first two charges faced the death penalty.

The case was due to continue on Tuesday.

Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2008, 19:22
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