Two Sudanese jailed over tourist kidnapping

KHARTOUM – Two Sudanese men who kidnapped a group of tourists in Egypt’s southern desert have each been jailed for 20 years, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

Masked gunmen seized the 19 hostages from Italy, Germany, Romania and Egypt while they were on a desert safari and took them over the border into Sudan in September 2008.

Sudan state media said at the time the kidnappers were members of a rebel faction from the country’s strife-torn Darfur region, adding the Sudanese army had killed the leader of the band in a gunfight.

Abdullah Abdurahman and al-Haj Abdel Jabar, both from the Kornoi area of Darfur, were jailed on Tuesday after being found guilty of kidnapping, criminal partnership and engaging in war against the state, defence lawyer Tebn Abdullah told Reuters.

Abdullah said he would be appealing against the sentences. “They were not members of the kidnappers’ group. They are victims themselves,” he said.

The judge told Khartoum North court the men were both members of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army’s Unity faction and six of their fellow kidnapers were killed in the rescue, said Abdullah.