[JURIST] An August 17 trial date has been set for five Sudanese men accused of killing John Granville, an aid worker affiliated with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) [official website], Sudan's state media reported Friday. Following the January shooting of John Granville and his driver, a previously-unknown extremist group calling itself Ansar al-Tawhid [VOA report] claimed responsibility for the shootings. Granville was the first US diplomat killed in Sudan since the deaths of US Ambassador Cleo Noel and US Embassy staffer George Curtis Moore [Arlington Cemetery memorials] in 1973. Reuters has more.
Granville's death has been cited as an example of the increasing dangers faced by US diplomats abroad. In June, Zimbabwean police detained US and UK diplomatic envoys [JURIST report] for several hours at a roadblock Thursday, threatening them and beating one of their drivers, in what US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee described as an "illegal action." US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the Zimbabwean government's actions had "flouted all international convention" [press briefing, video]. Zimbabwean officials said that the detention was for the convoy members' safety after they left a rally that had turned violent.