US denounces Sudan release of killer of US aid worker

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The US on Wednesday voiced alarm over Sudan's release of a man sentenced to death over the killing of an American development worker, denying there was any understanding between the countries.

Extremist gunmen shot dead John Granville, a 33-year-old US Agency for International Development employee, along with his 40-year-old Sudanese driver Abdel Rahman Abbas in a hail of bullets on New Year's Day 2008.

Sudanese authorities on Monday freed Abdelraouf Abu Zaid, who was convicted over the killing, with his lawyer saying it was a court decision in line with a 2020 compensation package by Sudan to Washington for past terrorism.

“We are deeply troubled by the lack of transparency in the legal process that resulted in the release of the only individual remaining in custody,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

He said it was “inaccurate” that the US had agreed to the release as part of the 2020 deal, which removed Sudan from a blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism dating from the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir.

As part of the deal brokered by then premier Abdalla Hamdok, impoverished Sudan paid $335 million to American survivors and families of victims killed in past attacks.

Hamdok, a civilian heading a transitional government, was seeking to reintegrate Sudan into the international community but he was ousted the following year by the military, setting back relations with the US which froze $700 million in economic support.

Price said the US was seeking clarity on the release of Abu Zaid and was offering $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of two other people suspected in the 2008 killings.

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Sudan frees Abdel-Raouf Abu Zaid, man convicted of killing US diplomat John Granville

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