Daily Archives: April 14, 2012

How much does a US diplomat’s life worth? About $1,800 US dollars, and look there’s no raging mob…

UPI reported this week that on April 10, the Sudanese Supreme Court commuted the sentence of one of the convicted killers of US diplomat John M. Granville from a fine of 10,000 Sudanese pounds (SDG) to $5,000 Sudanese pounds (SDG) or face a one-year prison term in case of non-payment.

On Jan. 1, 2008, Mr. Granville, 33, and his driver Abdel Rahman Abbas, 40, who both worked for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) were ambushed and killed in Khartoum.  The local USAID employee, Abdel Rahman Abbas, was killed immediately.  Mr. Granville was reportedly shot in the neck and chest and died a few hours later in a local hospital.

According to news report, the Khartoum North Criminal Court had actually ordered Abdel-Rauf Abu Zaid Hamza, one of the four convicted killers and son of the leader of the fundamentalist Islamist Ansar Al-Suna Group Abu Zaid Mohamed Hamzah the fine of 10,000 Sudanese dollars. But then its Supreme Court obviously thought that was way too much for a killer on the run.

In June 2009, four of the five men convicted in the twin killings were sentenced to death by hanging while the fifth was sentenced to two years in prison apparently because his role was limited to supplying the weapon for the attack. Yep, because without a gun, the killers would have had used rocks and sticks, which would have been more messy. So supplying the gun was a lesser offense.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then lauded the sentences handed down by a Sudanese court against members of an extremists groups accused of killing the USAID officer and his driver.

“I believe the guilty verdicts handed down today are an important step in bringing justice for John Granville and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, US Agency for International Development (USAID) workers murdered in Sudan in 2008,” Clinton said in a statement.

In June 2010, the four men who were convicted and sentenced to death escaped from the notorious Kober prison through a sewage pipe. This is reportedly the first time in the history of the Sudan that — not just a prisoner but four prisoners — succeeded in making their way out of Kober, long considered a maximum security prison.

“The United States Government expects that Sudanese authorities will apprehend these convicted murderers and ensure that justice is served for the men killed and their families” then US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement.

In summer 2010, USAID opened the Granville Abbas School in the Sudan. Click on Part 1 and Part 2 for the opening videos. Part 1 is also embedded below:

In May 2011, one of the four who escaped from prison in 2010 after sentenced to hang was reportedly killed while waging holy war, in Somalia.  AFP identified Mohannad Osman Yussif Mohammed was one of the four Islamists convicted of the New Year’s Day killing of Mr. Granville and cited the father as the source of the death report.

In the long saga of these court-tried, convicted and escaped killers — here is what we know and don’t know:

Under the current exchange rate, 10,000.00 SDG (Sudanese pounds) is $3,745.32 in US dollars. The minimized penalty of $5000 Sudanese dollars (SDG) for Mr. Granville’s life amounts to $1,872.66 US dollars. The news item did not say if the Supreme Court’s minimized fine of $5,000 SDG includes the life of Mr. Abbas or just Mr. Granville’s. If one of the four killers indeed died in Somalia last year, and this ruling only mentions one of the four escaped killers,  we have absolutely no idea if the other two convicted and escaped killers will also pay any sort of fine or jail time for the Granville-Abbas deaths.

Did you hear that?

Radio silence.

Where’s the anger, or condemnation or some reaction of disappointment from US Embassy Khartoum, USAID Sudan, USAID, the State Department, the White House or even from our dedicated representatives in Congress?

In early April this year, NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor issued a press statement saying that President Obama has authorized the use of up to $26 million from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to respond to the unexpected and urgent needs resulting from the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states of Sudan.  According to the statement, the emergency funds will be used to support the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide lifesaving protection and assistance to the over 140,000 refugees who have fled the two states.

Meanwhile, FY 2011 USAID-State funding request (pdf) for Sudan amounts to $439.979 million dollars; the USAID website does not say how much was requested for FY 2012.

To summarize some basic, sad, sad truths here –

  • Sudanese militants killed two (2) USG employees in the Sudan in 2008
  • Four Sudanese militants were convicted and jailed in a maximum security prison in 2009
  • Four Sudanese militants escaped the maximum security prison in 2010
  • One of four escapees was reportedly killed in Somalia in 2011, while three remains unaccounted for
  • One of the four escapees was fined  $5,000 Sudanese pounds (SDG) by the Supreme Court in 2012, (equivalent to $1,872.66 US dollars in current exchange rate) or face a one-year prison term in case of non-payment.

Old news is dead news, and phuey! Doesn’t this make you so mad you want to shock and awe some place like Genghis Khan?  Phuey!

Domani Spero

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