Cablegate: Prosecution Presents Evidence During Third Session Of

191255Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) SUMMARY: On September 11, U.S. Embassy Foreign Service
National employees from the Regional Security Office,
Political/Economic, and Public Diplomacy sections attended the third
session of the trial of five Sudanese men accused in the January 1,
2008 murders of USAID Officer John Granville and FSN driver
Abdelrahman Abbas. Judge Said Ahmed al-Badri presided. The
Granville family's attorney, Mr. Taha Ibrahim, was introduced to
the court during this session. The three-hour proceedings introduced
evidence including police reports, a crime scene sketch,
photographs, autopsy reports, defendant statements, receipts,
weapons, and ammunition casings. Four of the five defendants said
their confessions had been coerced. Two of the defendants told the
judge they were arrested earlier than the dates reflected on the
police documents. After the exhibits, documents, and statements had
been presented for each defendant, the judge set the next court
dates for Sunday, September 21, and Monday, September 22. End


2. (U) Five Foreign Service National (FSN) employees observed the
trial for the U.S. Embassy. Due to security concerns (reftel B,)
the FSNs arrived at the courthouse in staggered intervals and did
not sit together, acknowledge each other's presence, or identify
themselves as US Embassy employees. Although security was
significantly improved with the deployment of more than 100 riot
police officers outside the courthouse, the FSN employees were
allowed to pass through police lines by simply stating they needed
to go inside. Of the five, only one was asked for identification.
After presenting his military identification card, the FSN was
allowed to continue without additional questioning. None of the
FSNs was searched before entering the courtroom.

3. (U) Several members of local and international media, including
Al Jazeera, attended and filmed the court proceedings. At least
four plain-clothes police officers were positioned in the courtroom
sitting among family members, journalists, and other observers. A
Sudanese military intelligence official was also in the audience
observing the proceedings.

4. (U) Judge al-Badri called the court to order at 11:00 a.m. and
recognized the prosecution and defense panel chairs for opening
statements. Prosecution Chair Mohamed Mustafa Musa introduced
himself and the members of the prosecution panel of four attorneys.
Babiker Abdel Latif, the Ministry of Justice's Chief Prosecutor for
Khartoum State was not present. Following the introduction of the
prosecution panel, the judge recognized Mr. Taha Jarbur Ibrahim, the
Sudanese attorney representing the Granville family. Mr. Ibrahim
informed the court that he was not there on behalf of the US
Government or US Embassy, but rather to represent the interests of
John Granville's mother and sister. Mr. Abu Sugra, the attorney
representing Abdelrahman's family, arrived approximately 25 minutes
late and did not actively engage in prosecution panel discussions.
The defense was represented by Sidiq Ali Kodada and four other
attorneys for the accused.


5. (U) Following the introductions of the prosecution and defense
teams, the judge called on Major General Abdelraheem Ahmed
Abdelraheem from the Sudan National Police Criminal Investigation
Division (CID). General Abdelraheem told the court he was the chief
investigator in the case, and had led a team including
representatives from the Sudan National Police, National
Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and Sudan's Armed Forces
Military Intelligence division (MID). Abdelraheem presented evidence
exhibits that included: a crime scene sketch, crime scene
photographs, Abbas, Granville and witness documents, and defendant
statements. The various exhibits for the victims contained autopsy
authorizations and reports, police complaints, injury description
and analysis, death certificates, and CID blood and urine toxicology
reports. After the presentation of general exhibits, specific
evidence against each defendant was introduced. The evidence
included written statements, digital video recorded confessions, and
physical evidence linked to several of the defendants.



6. (U) The prosecution's presentation of evidence began with that
against Mohamed Makawi. The prosecutor said Makawi had been in the
front right passenger seat of the attack vehicle, a rented four-door
Hyundai Accent, and had fired the first two shots from a 9mm pistol,
killing Abdelrahman before the pistol jammed. According to
defendant Abd Al-Ra'ouf's statement, the group had agreed in advance
that Makawi would lead the attack. Makawi told police that he
traveled to Khartoum three days before the murders to look for
targets, and was assisted by a sixth participant, Mohamed Ibrahim,
aka "Hamza," who provided information on the American Embassy's
office compounds and when Americans left home to go to work. He
claimed Ibrahim was with him when he surveilled embassy venues
including the recreation site, residences, and offices. He
identified American Embassy residences by following employees home
from their offices.

7. (U) At approximately 10:00 p.m. on December 31, 2007, the
prosecution said that Makawi and three of his co-defendants arrived
in Khartoum from nearby Atbara in a rented Hyundai. Makawi claimed
that Mohamed Osman had purchased weapons and ammunition for their
planned attack. Makawi informed the police that their intent was to
find a New Year's Eve party and to kill guests as they were leaving.
After being unable to find any large gatherings, they parked at the
Khartoum Medical Academy near Street 60 and Omak Road Extension
(Menshia Road) intersection to look for targets on their way home
from a party. Makawi stated that although attacking Americans had
not been the original plan, they had subsequently agreed that the
target should be an American. In his statement, he also said that
Mohamed drove the attack vehicle, and that they had with them three
Kalashnikov rifles and one 9mm pistol. When asked by Judge Al-Badri
to confirm that the statement read was his, Makawi acknowledged
making the statement, but said he had been coerced into doing so.
When presented with the 9mm pistol and three empty 9mm casings,
Makawi denied ownership or use of the weapon.

8. (U) In its presentation against the second defendant, the police
reported that Abd Al-Basit sat in the rear right passenger seat and
fired six shots from a Kalashnikov rifle into the USAID vehicle
after Makawi's pistol jammed. The police alleged that a 7.62mm
round fired from Abdulbasat's Kalashnikov was the fatal shot that
killed John Granville. The prosecution also argued that Abd
Al-Basit rented two vehicles, one for the attack vehicle and a
second get-away car. The group parked the get-away car, a Suzuki
SUV, at the Banjadit Al-Had Yussef Hospital in the Bahri District of
North Khartoum. The prosecution stated that Abd Al-Basit provided a
confession to Judge Osama Jibril Ahmed at the Khartoum North Court
on February 26, 2008. The police presented two empty 7.62mm brass
casings, two rental vehicle agreements for a Hyundai Accent with
registration 1314 and a Suzuki sport utility vehicle with
registration 507, and toll gate receipts from Shendi, North
Khartoum, that were found in the rental vehicle and attributable to
Abd Al-Basit.

9. (U) In his statement presented by the prosecution, Abd Al-Basit
said that he had fired six 7.62mm Kalashnikov rounds into the USAID
vehicle on January 1. After departing Khartoum, he said they
stopped in Shendi for morning prayers around 5:30 a.m. on the way
back to Atbara. While there he changed clothes and washed the
rental car at approximately 6:30 a.m. He stated that he returned
the rental car between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon on January 1.
When confronted with the prosecution's evidence, Abd Al-Basit denied
any knowledge of the casings, car rental agreements, or toll
receipts. When asked if he had made the statements, Abd Al-Basit
responded, "No, those are the Intelligence Service's statements,
specifically that man," and pointed to a bald man sitting on the
dais between Judge Said and CID Director Major General Abdein. The
FSNs later identified the bald man as a NISS representative on the
investigative commission. Abd Al-Basit also informed the judge that
he was arrested on February 1 and not February 25 as stated in the
police report.

10. (U) The statements produced by the prosecution indicated that
the third defendant, Mohamed Osman, was the driver of the attack
vehicle used on January 1. Police reported Osman was arrested on
March 11 in Abu Sayed, Omdurman, and provided a video recorded
confession on March 12 at the Khartoum North Court. When asked to
confirm the statements read by the lead investigation were his, he
responded, "No, those are the statements of the prosecutors, those
devils." He also told the judge that he was arrested in Omdurman by
NISS, and did not know anything about the weapons presented at the

11. (U) In defendant Abd Al-Ra'ouf's statement he said the group
prepared for martyrdom by bathing, dressing, and applying perfume

before departing Atbara on December 31: "We were expecting to see
the next sunrise in heaven." Abd Al-Ra'ouf told the police that the
group wanted to attack a New Year's Eve party where Americans were
celebrating. He said they knew to look for holiday (Christmas)
lights to determine who had not leave for the holidays, and were
more likely to host a party. He told police there were no lights on
at any of the residences they had surveilled. While driving around
Khartoum the group spotted a vehicle with British diplomatic license
plates. Abd Al-Ra'ouf said the group thought about attacking the
British vehicle in retaliation for an incident at a Khartoum
elementary school in which a British teacher had allowed her
students to name a teddy bear "Mohamed." However, the area was too
congested to launch an attack, and they later lost sight of the
vehicle in traffic.

12. (U) Abd Al-Ra'ouf claimed that he fell asleep in the backseat of
the car while the group was looking for other targets, and woke up
just as the attack on Abdelrahman and Granville took place. He told
police that after the shooting, he said "Kabbarna" (the act of
praising God by shouting "Allahu Akhbar" repeatedly). Abd Al-Ra'ouf
told police that Makawi wanted to photograph Abdelrahman and
Granville after the attack, and handed Abd Al-Ra'ouf a camera, but
he claimed to have told Makawi that Islam prohibited the taking of
photographs during jihad. He said that Makawi seemed to understand,
and did not pressure him any further. Abd Al-Ra'ouf said in his
statement that they fled Khartoum via the Menshia Bridge towards
Hajj Yussef Sukuji. Although they intended to switch vehicles at
the Banjadat Hospital parking lot, they noticed someone who appeared
to be observing them. They drove both vehicles to the Khartoum
North Hospital where they transferred their weapons and clothing to
the Suzuki.

13. (U) Abd Al-Ra'ouf told police that he had password access to
El-Ekhlas and Hessiba websites where he drafted and posted a press
release claiming responsibility for the attacks and announcing a
jihad against Christianity. He said that he wrote that the killing
of the two victims was justified because Granville was an infidel
and Abdelrahman had sold his religion in exchange for money (i.e. by
working for the US Government.) In his statement, Abd Al-Ra'ouf
accused Sudanese government authorities of falsifying reports to the
media that the killing was due to personal, immoral acts committed
by Granville. The judge asked him to confirm that he made the
statement to the police. Abd Al-Ra'ouf denied making the statement
on his free accord, and told the judge that he was arrested on
February 8 and not on March 11 as stated in the record.

14. (U) The fifth defendant, Morad Abdelrahman told investigators
in his statement that he did not know fellow defendants Mohamed
Osman or Abd Al-Basit very well, although he and Abd Al-Basit were
distant relatives. Morad told police that he rented a house in
Atbara and paid two months' rent for Abd Al-Basit. He also admitted
to introducing Abd Al-Basit and Mohamed to an individual known as
"Al Rashidi" (a man from the Rashaida region in eastern Sudan known
for its trade in weapons.) Morad said they met in the desert and
that Al Rashidi was driving a pick-up truck. Morad said he walked
away once he made introductions to allow Mohamed and Abd Al-Basit to
negotiate with Al Rashidi. Morad told the police that Mohamed and
Abd Al-Basit purchased two Kalashnikov rifles; one had a wooden
shoulder stock and the second was metal. Morad claimed that Al
Rashidi made them promise that the weapons would not be used against
the government or in a robbery.

15. (U) Morad also told investigators that on January 1 he saw Abd
Al-Basit drive by and flagged him down as he was waiting for public
transportation with a sick relative who needed to travel to the
hospital in Shendi. Abd Al-Basit stopped and provided Morad and his
relatives a ride to the Shendi hospital while on the way back to
Khartoum to return the Hyundai rental vehicle. After his statement
was read, Morad confirmed to the judge that it had been made of his
own free will. He was the only defendant who did not say he was
coerced, and the only one of the accused not present during the

Trial Adjourned Until 9/21

16. (U) After the exhibits, documents, and statements had been
presented for each defendant, the judge called the prosecution and
defense panels together to adjourn and set the date for the next
session. After ten minutes of deliberation, the judge set the next
court dates for Sunday, September 21, and Monday, September 22.

Follow Up

17. (SBU) During the evening of September 11, the ARSO and TDY Cairo
A/LAT met with Major General Abdein Tahir at his office to discuss
his impressions of the trial. During their meeting, General Abdein
related that the lead police investigator for the prosecution,
General Abdelraheem, was directly threatened by Makawi (one of the
defendants) after the September 11 trial session had adjourned.
Makawi apparently told General Abdelraheem: "We know where you
live, and we will get you." In addition, General Abdein recounted
again the fact that Abdel Basit (one of the defendants) made a
comment about Abdein's recent trip to the United States. General
Abdein took this as an implied threat that the defendants were
implying they had contacts within the government who supplied them
with information regarding the day-to-day activities of high-level
police officials.

18. (SBU) The Embassy's EAC will convene on Thursday, September 18,
to determine the appropriate level of participation at the next
trial session.


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