Eight Palestinian Black September guerrillas made a brief appearance at a Khartoum Magistrates Court this week (25 September) to face charges of murdering three foreign diplomate at the Saudi Arabian Embassy last March.
Eight Palestinian Black September guerrillas made a brief appearance at a Khartoum Magistrates Court this week (25 September) to face charges of murdering three foreign diplomate at the Saudi Arabian Embassy last March. At a one-hour hearing, celled a "Magisterial Enquiry" (the prelude to a trial proper), it was decided to postpone the proceedings until November 13th.
The defendants were arrested on March 4th. They are accused of having seized the Embassy in Khartoum during a diplomatic reception three days earlier. While occupying the premises, they killed United States Ambassador Cleo Noel, his charge d'affaires George Curtis Moore, and a Belgian diplomat Guy Eid. Two Arab hostages were releases unharmed. The guerrillas had been demanding the release of many Palestinians throughout the world.
The hearing, which must determine whether there is a case to be answered in a higher court, has been postponed twice before. This was to al???w time to prepare the defence, in which members of the Arab Lawyers Federation are participating. At Tuesday's hearing, Judge Mustafa Bashir said both prosecution and defence would be granted equal opportunities.
Prosecutor Abdel Moneim Mustafa said that though the accused had a genuine cause, it had been damaged by their actions. He said: "Those slain diplomats were under our protection."
Rizig Abu Gassan, one of the defendants, said he was sure of the innocence of himself and his comrades, "We have done our duty and are proud of our revolutionary work," he declared, "our cause is as clear as the sun."
The defendants were cheered by onlookers as they left the Court.
SYNOPSIS: In Khartoum, capital of the Sudan, eight Black September guerrillas who seized the Saudi Arabian Embassy in the city last March made a brief appearance in court on Tuesday, They are accused of having murdered United States Ambassador Cleo Noel, his charge d'affaires George Curtis Moore and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid, while occupying the building. Two Arab envoys whom they held as hostages were released unharmed. During the three days before they surrendered to the Sudanese authorities, they had been demanding the release of many Palestinians in jail throughout the world. The guerrillas stand accused of premeditated murder and several other related charges.
They made a one-hour appearance last week at the People's Court in Khartoum, to face a Magisterial Enquiry. This procedure determines whether or not there is a case to be answered in a higher court.
Strict security was imposed on the Court compound for hours. The hearing had been postponed twice before -- to allow members of the Arab Lawyers Federation time to prepare a defence.
When the eight were finally brought before Judge Mustafa Bashir, he told them to expect justice within a tradition of neutrality and patience. Prosecutor Abdel Moneim Mustafa said that by their actions the defendants had damaged a genuine cause. But one of the eight guerrillas, speaking on behalf of the whole group, replied: "Our cause is clear as the sun". Rizig Abu Gassan added: "We have done out duty and are proud of our revolutionary work." The case was adjourned till November thirteenth and the guerrillas were cheered as they left court.