- A Sudanese criminal court has sentenced a man to 17 years in prison for allegedly spying for the International Criminal Court in a probe on Darfur war crimes, the state run news agency has reported.
Mohammed Al-Sirri, who was arrested in June 2008 was convicted of spying, criminal conspiracy and passing on confidential military documents about a Sudanese Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun to the Hague based court.
He was the first Sudanese to face charges at home of collaborating with the ICC court and its investigation into Darfur crimes, he is also reported to be the first such conviction anywhere in the world linked to helping the ICC.
Local news agency said Mr Al-Sirri conviction is related to Mr Haroun warrant of arrest issued by the ICC detailing 51 charges of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sudan's western Darfur region in 2003 and 2004.
The ICC spokeswoman for the office of the ICC prosecutor denounced the verdict, saying its only aimed at instilling fear among locals who may choose to assist the ICC with the investigations of an alleged genocide in Darfur region.
"If the international community needed one more proof that the Sudanese will not investigate and prosecute massive crimes committed in Darfur, this is it," she said, further indicating that the government instead of collecting evidence, they intimidate, torture or convict anyone suspected be spying on the government.
The ICC is deciding whether also to indict President Omar Al-Bashir on 10 counts of genocide and other charges in Darfur, after prosecutors asked for an arrest warrant in July 2008.
However, Sudan argues that such a move would only make things worse in the war torn Darfur region.
The UN estimates that up to 300, 000 people have been killed and close to 2.7 million have been forced from their homes in Darfur since the conflict began in 2003.
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