Omar Al Bashir’s trial set for August - GulfToday

Omar Al Bashir’s trial set for August

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Omar Al Bashir. File

Hundreds of protesters marched through a central Sudanese city on Wednesday to condemn the killing of five school children, as the trial of ousted leader Omar Al Bashir on corruption charges was set for August.

Tragedy struck Al-Obeid on Monday when six people, including five secondary school pupils, were shot dead at a rally against a growing shortage of bread and fuel in the city.

“Blood for blood, we don’t want compensation,” chanted women and men as they marched in Al-Obeid on Wednesday, an AFP correspondent reported.

Many carried Sudanese flags and some held photographs of those killed as they gathered downtown after marching through several parts of the city.

“It is unacceptable that young people are being killed,” said demonstrator Fatima Mohamed, as crowds behind her chanted the slogans from protests that have rocked the country for months.

“These schoolchildren were chanting only slogans. Why were they shot with bullets?” It was the sudden tripling of bread prices in December that sparked the mushrooming protests that led to the toppling of Bashir by the army in April.

Bashir is due to face trial next month on charges of corruption.

“Today was the first session of his trial, but the authorities were unable to bring him due to security reasons, so the judge informed us that the trial will now start on August 17,” defence lawyer Hashim al-Gaaly told AFP.

Prosecutors say Bashir faces charges related to “possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally”.

In April, Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan announced that more than $113 million worth of cash in three currencies had been seized from Bashir’s residence.

Frequent power cuts as well as shortages of bread and fuel are a main source of frustration in Sudan.

Long queues outside bakeries in Al-Obeid are a common sight.

“Getting food has become a tough task,” said Muawiya Saad, who works and lives in the city.

“You have to wait for an hour or even more. Often you pass by one bakery and find that it is shut because there is no electricity.” Monday’s killing in Al-Obeid triggered international outrage, with the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF calling for a probe.

Agence France-Presse