The United States asked the Sudanese government Thursday to re-arrest a man convicted of killing a U.S. diplomat in the country 15 years ago.
Abdel-Raouf Abu Zaid, the Sudanese man freed Jan. 30, was found guilty of murdering John Granville, an official with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and his Sudanese driver, Abdel Rahman Abbas.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Abu Zaid's release was based on untrue assertions.
“The Sudanese claim that the Granville family had extended forgiveness is false,” Price said. “We call on the Sudanese government to exercise all available legal means to reverse this decision.”
Price emphasized that Abu Zaid's sentencing and imprisonment were not a part of a 2020 settlement between the U.S. and Sudan.
In 2020, Sudan agreed to pay $335 million to settle compensation lawsuits at U.S. courts related to the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the 2000 attack of the USS Cole at Yemen’s southern port of Aden that killed 17 sailors and Granville’s killing.
The settlement was made by Sudan’s former transitional government with the Trump administration to stop any future compensation claims being filed against the African country in U.S. courts.
Granville, 33, was working to implement a 2005 peace agreement between Sudan’s north and south that ended more than two decades of civil war. He was returning from a New Year Eve party when another vehicle intercepted his car and gunmen inside opened fire, killing Granville and Abbas, also a USAID employee.
Three other men were sentenced to hang along with Abu Zaid for the attack.
The four broke out of prison in June 2010, killing a Sudanese police officer and wounding another in a shootout in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, according to a Sudanese notice to the international police agency, Interpol. Abu Zaid was recaptured weeks later and returned to Kubar Prison. The three other men were not re-arrested.
Price said that Sudan's ambassador to the United States had been summoned and that other top diplomats would be pressing the Sudanese government in the coming weeks.
“We will not relent,” he said.