A Sudanese court sentenced 16 members of a Darfur rebel group to death by hanging after they were found guilty of undermining the North African nation’s constitution, their lawyer said.
The men were captured in March after fighting between Sudan’s army and insurgents from the Sudanese Liberation Movement’s Minni Minawi faction in the eastern Jebel Marra region of North Darfur state, Sati’ al-Haj, head of the defense team, said by phone from the capital, Khartoum.
The team will lodge an appeal against Thursday’s verdict within 15 days, he said. Sudan’s government may not carry out the executions as it’s trying to negotiate with armed groups, according to al-Haj. Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman didn’t answer two phone calls seeking comment.
Rebels in the western Sudanese region took up arms against President Umar al-Bashir’s government in 2003 accusing it of neglect. The Darfur conflict has left 300,000 people dead and caused about 2.5 million others to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.
African Union mediators said Tuesday that a 10th round of talks between Sudan’s government and rebels from Darfur and Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states is halting for consultations and will resume on Dec. 7.