Date: Thursday, 18 April 2019
On the witness stand, two Sudanese police officers. One of them also admits to working for the secret police who supported the dictator's regime. Between discrepancies in the stories, the smoky role of the British NCA and the defendant's outburst
Almost four hours of discussion in the classroom to write the umpteenth chapter of the story that sees as protagonist a young Eritrean, ended up in handcuffs in Sudan on the charge of being Mered Medhanie Yedhego , one of the main traffickers of human beings on the trafficking that from the Africa, through Libya, brings people to Europe. At the counter of heads they sat Elsadeg Elnour Mohamed Abdelrahman , a Sudanese police officer and Colonel Amir Ibrahim Abdelsadig , his superior. Both involved in the arrest of the young man, which took place in Karthoum over two years ago. An arrest whose dynamics have never been completely clarified.
And even today in the classroom many shadows have remained on different points in the story of the two African police officers. In fact, starting from the first questions of the public prosecutor Geri Ferrara, Abdelrahman proved vague, even regarding the position he held in the police. " I am part of a police without uniform - he says - We are not investigating, we are only arresting." And again: "I am a police assistant", "It is a civilian police, I do not dress a uniform". It will take several hours, the testimony of Abdelsadig and a very precise question to understand that the man works for the National intelligence and security service , the feared Sudanese secret services at the time of the facts in the pay of the dictator Omar al-Bashir.
Abdelrahman says he received the photo of the boy to be arrested and the phone number that would have been available to him by some agents of the British National crime agency , during a meeting in which "several Europeans" would take part. A meeting in which Colonel Abdelsadig, however, did not participate, who in his deposition tells of having received the material on the suspect to be arrested by his superiors, only later. " We asked around showing people the picture we had- explains Abdelrahman at the pm who asked him how they had managed to find the man to capture - In the end we found him after five or seven days in a billiard room, we waited for him to come out and we arrested him ". The police assistant then showed the photo that had been delivered to him and provided the court with another two taken only after his arrest. And in one of these two photographs the defendant, who has always claimed to be Medhanie Tesfamariam Bhere , an Eritrean refugee stationed in Karthoum waiting to leave the country to Europe, acknowledged the man who during his arrest he would have beaten him. And he revealed it by leaving a spontaneous statement.
"We were six people at the time of arrest - continues the story Abdelrahman - representing five different police forces. I was driving the car. He had nothing in his pocket, no money or documents. We asked him where his home was, there we found his clothes in a suitcase along with documents written in Eritrea. We realized that the suitcase was his because the clothes were the same as the pictures we had - he says before, then he points out - We knew the suitcase was his because he was the one who showed us». In his spontaneous statement, the defendant spoke instead of a more agitated arrest, beatings and the disappearance of his documents: including those he brought from Eritrea and had done when he was 18 years old. And he also accused the men who incarcerated him of first seizing his money , sharing it, and later having even tried to take his clothes off him. Accusations rejected by the Sudanese policeman, questioned on the sidelines of the hearing.
And then there is the figure of Colonel Amir Ibrahim Abdelsadig, who would have dealt with the prisoner in the period following his arrest. He says he saw the envelope with the evidence seized from the young man but that he had not looked into it, questioned it and heard that his name was different from that of the wanted trafficker, but that he had not communicated it to his superiors because in any case the names resembled each other . "When I interrogated him - he says - he said he was not a trafficker, to meet a person who has helped three of his friends to cross the border into Libya for $ 1800 and to be willing to do the same ". Both police officers stated that both the arrest and the body search and the defendant's house were put in place without the presence of a lawyer . "The law foresees - says Colonel Abdelsadig - but I have not reminded him of it and he has not requested it". According to Abdelrahman, instead, " in Sudan it works like this , we don't need to ask permission from the judiciary to do searches to those without papers". These elements which, according to Michele Calantropo, the defendant's lawyer, would be in stark contrast to article six of the international charter of human rights.