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Members of Reform Now Movement detained in Sudan capital

November 17 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Dr Ghazi Salaheldin Atabani, the head of the Reform Now Movement (file photo)
Dr Ghazi Salaheldin Atabani, the head of the Reform Now Movement (file photo)

On 8 November, four members of the Reform Now Movement (RNM) were detained by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). They are still being held incommunicado.

In a joint press statement today, the RNM party and the Future Forces for Change (FFC, a coalition of rightist opposition parties of which RNM is a member) report that Khalid El Sayed Nouri and Jaafar El Sadig were detained inside their homes in Khartoum.

Diaeldin Hussein El Siddig and Awad El Daw Khalifa were held at the El Haj Yousef bus terminal in Khartoum North, “apparently for having attended a three-minutes speech by a speaker who denounced the way petrol subsidies were lifted last week”.

Their relatives and members of RNM “have been striving to locate the detainees for more than a week now,” the statement reads. “They contacted the NISS, who gave conflicting answers about the locations of the detainees.

“Having finally chosen to deny that the detainees are in their custody, the NISS have refused to pass on medicines and personal belongings to the detainees. Our sources confirm that the detainees are in NISS’ custody, but their exact location is unknown to us.”

The parties furthermore state that the detention of citizens who are performing legal political activities, without due process, “flies in the face of claims about reform and dialogue by the government.

“It is imperative that the detainees be located and released without delay,” the RNM and FFC conclude.

Following new economic measures that took effect on 4 November, the prices for airlines, bus transportation and consumer goods increased sharply. Limited demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese towns.

NISS officers detained a number of protesters, including the president of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), his deputy, the party’s secretary-general, and 22 other leading members. They are all being held incommunicado by the NISS.

Expelled

The RNM party, chaired by Ghazi Salaheldin Atabani, was established by dissidents of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in December 2013.

They were expelled from the party after they had protested the violent crackdown against peaceful demonstrators against new austerity measures in September and October that year. Army troops, security forces, and paramilitaries used live ammunition, tear gas, and batons to disperse the crowds. At least 185 protesters were reportedly killed, most of them shot in the head or chest.  

The FFC was formed in February this year by the National Forces Alliance (NFA), the National Forces of Change (NFC), and the National Unity Parties (NUPs).

Some members of the NFC, like the Islamic-oriented Reform Now Movement (RNM), led by Ghazi Salaheldin Atabani, and the ultra-right-wing Just Peace Forum (JPF) established by El Tayeb Mustafa, have participated in the National Dialogue process in its first phase. The FFC and the NFA joined the National Dialogue not long before its conclusion on 10 October this year.


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