Sudanese Teacher Faces Death Penalty, Amnesty Says

A Sudanese teacher who provided aid to civilians affected by fighting between government forces and rebels in the oil-rich state of Southern Kordofan is facing the death penalty, Amnesty International said.

Jalila Khamis Koko, a member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group, was charged with five criminal counts on Dec. 13, including “waging war against the state,” the London-based rights group said today in an e-mailed statement. She’s due to appear in Khartoum criminal court tomorrow, it said.

“Jalila Khamis Koko’s detention appears to be part of a pattern of harassment and detention of activists from the Nuba Mountains and members of the SPLM-N,” Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty’s Africa director, said in the statement. “This needs to stop immediately,”

Amnesty said in a Dec. 12 report that more than 90 people, including 32 women, were arrested in the towns of Kadugli and Dilling in November. Fighting between government forces and rebels in Southern Kordofan broke out in June 2011 and spread to Blue Nile state. Insurgents loyal to the SPLM-N were formerly part of the army that fought a two-decade civil war that led to the south’s independence last year.

Khamis Koko was arrested March 15 by National Security Services after providing humanitarian support to those fleeing fighting in Southern Kordofan, Amnesty said. She also appeared in a June 2011 online video calling for a cease-fire in the region.

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