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Sudanese accused of spying in ICC Darfur case: lawyers
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Dec 22, 2008 - 7:11:58 PM

Sudanese accused of spying in ICC Darfur case: lawyers

KHARTOUM (AFP) A Sudanese man appeared in court on Monday charged with crimes against the state for allegedly trying to help the International Criminal Court investigate a minister over war crimes in Darfur.

Mohammed el-Sari is the first person to be hauled before Sudanese courts accused of trying to assist the ICC -- which Khartoum does not recognise -- and could face the death penalty if found guilty, lawyers said.

The prosecution brought to the witness stand the army intelligence officer who said he arrested the Khartoum resident in June.

The witness, Omar Abdel Faraj, accused Sari of trying to solicit information about special police in Darfur, men trained and paid by the government and supervised by current Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun.

The ICC last year issued an arrest warrant for Haroun detailing 51 charges of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sudan's western Darfur region in 2003 and 2004.

The ICC accused Haroun of involvement in crimes including the murder and rape of civilians in Darfur while serving as Sudanese minister of state for the interior. Haroun has denied any wrongdoing.

In July, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked the ICC for an arrest warrant for President Omar el-Beshir himself on 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

Faraj accused Sari of being willing to pay police between 10,000 and 100,000 dollars for documents detailing the number of people in special police camps, their names, weapons and training, and a photograph of Haroun visiting them.

He said Sari had been in contact with an unnamed Jordanian and three Sudanese Americans, one of them his cousin, who were allegedly trying to help him pass the secrets to the ICC.

Faraj painted Sari as a security force reject who had been suspended from the special police and, before that, from army staff college.

Sari faces charges that include dealing with an enemy country, spying, working to topple the state and passing on confidential documents. If found guilty he could be sentenced to death, defence lawyers said.

The trial resumes on Tuesday.

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