Sudan rebel chiefs get death in absentia at end of nine-month trial

Formerly Blue Nile state governor

KHARTOUM - A Sudanese court on Thursday sentenced to death in absentia a former governor who is now a rebel leader, along with another insurgent chief, a lawyer said.
"Seventeen people were sentenced in absentia to be executed by hanging. These include Malik Agar and Yassir Arman," said Al-Tigani Hassan, a lawyer who was present for the verdict in Singa town, the capital of Sennar state.
Agar, formerly Blue Nile state governor, is chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, and Arman is secretary general of the movement which has been fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile for almost three years.
The verdict came at the end of a nine-month trial, but also followed by 12 days the adjournment of African Union-mediated peace talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The two sides were deadlocked, said the AU.
It gave them until April 30 to reach a peace deal in the conflict which, according to the United Nations, has displaced or otherwise affected an estimated 1.2 million people.
Arman is head of the SPLM-N delegation at the talks.