KHARTOUM (Reuters) — Two Sudanese men on Wednesday denied murdering a U.S. diplomat and his driver in Khartoum, but told a court they thought killing “American unbelievers” was honorable.
They are among five men accused of killing John Granville, a 33-year-old officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and his driver, Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, 39.
Granville and Rahama were shot dead while returning home from New Year’s Eve celebrations in Khartoum early on January 1 2008 in a crime that shocked Westerners in the capital, previously seen as one of Africa’s safest cities.
“Killing American unbelievers is an honor, but I was not involved in this case,” Mohamed Makkawi Ibrahim Mohamed told Khartoum north court.
A second defendant, Abdel Basit al-Hajj Hassan, echoed his statement.
A third defendant, former army officer Mohamed Osman Yusuf Mohamed, also denied taking part in the killing.
All three defendants said they had made earlier confessions to the crime under torture.
The judge is expected to cross-examine the two remaining defendants next week.
In earlier hearings, prosecutors said the men were religious extremists who had decided to attack foreigners in Sudan.
One of the remaining defendants admitted in a video-taped statement supplying the four others with weapons, but denied knowing anything about their plans.