Children convicted of vandalism in Sudan riots: lawyer

Reuters
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People take part in protests over fuel subsidy cuts in Khartoum September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Four children and four adults were convicted on Thursday of vandalism during a week of deadly anti-government riots in Sudan, a defence lawyer said, the first judgements recorded in cases linked to the violence in the capital.

Sudanese authorities have said they arrested 700 people during the worst unrest in central Sudan in years, triggered by cuts to subsidies on cooking oil and fuel that doubled pump prices overnight.

The judge on Thursday jailed the adults for six months each and ordered the children - whose ages could not immediately be confirmed - to be transferred to a juvenile court for sentencing, defence lawyer Mutassim al-Haj told Reuters.

Amnesty International said last week 210 protesters were killed in the clashes in Khartoum and other cities that started on September 23, quoting figures from a Sudanese doctors' union.

Khartoum governor Abdul Rahman al-Khidir said on Wednesday 60-70 people died in the capital, state media reported. Khartoum has denied shooting any protesters it dismisses as "vandals".

Protests have since abated in Khartoum amid tight security.

The government cut subsidies to ease a financial crunch aggravated by the secession of oil-producing South Sudan in 2011.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir came to power in a bloodless coup in 1989 and has seen off rebellions, U.S. trade sanctions, a reported attempted coup last year and arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court on charges of masterminding war crimes in the western region of Darfur.

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