The government of Sudan, contrary to its obligations under international law to combat terrorism and hold accountable those responsible for terrorist acts, has granted a presidential pardon to a man who aided the prison escape of four men convicted of murdering two USAID workers there. The United States strongly condemns the decision and urges Sudanese officials to reverse it.
Early on January 1st, 2008, as they were leaving a New Year’s Eve celebration, John Granville, 33, and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, 39, both employed by the U.S. Agency for International Development, were shot and killed in an ambush in Khartoum, Sudan. Five men were arrested and convicted in connection with the killings, but in June 2010, with the help of Mubarak Mustafa, four escaped by burrowing a tunnel from their jail.
Mustafa was captured and convicted of aiding the escape. One of the four escapees was recaptured, another was reportedly killed in 2011, and two others remain at large reportedly in Somalia, the subjects of rewards of up to $5 million each from the U.S. Rewards for Justice Program.
In November 2012, the Sudanese government, seeking to ease international trade sanctions imposed on it for supporting international terrorism, pledged to act to end such support. Mustafa’s pardon runs counter to assurances that those involved in any way in the murder of Granville and Abbas would be held accountable. In the interest of justice, the United States urges the government of Sudan to rescind the pardon and return Mustafa to prison to serve out his term.