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More practices from Al Bashir era reappearing in Sudan

July 13 - 2022 NEW YORK / SIRBA / KHARTOUM
Lt Gen Abdefattah El Burhan in his office, October 4, 2021 (SUNA)
Lt Gen Abdefattah El Burhan in his office, October 4, 2021 (SUNA)

Reports of violent suppression of freedoms that characterised the 30-year regime of Omar Al Bashir are increasing again in all levels of society, and so are friendly ties between the military and Al Bashir's ousted National Congress Party (NCP). Last month, police forces in Central Darfur’s capital Zalingei held four Christian men in a church in the city. A 20-year-old woman was sentenced to death by stoning in Kosti, White Nile state, and a few days ago four displaced leaders were detained in Sirba in West Darfur.

Since the coup, the military regime has also reintegrated remnants of Al Bashir’s fallen regime into the government, including members of the former ruling NCP. The ousted National Congress Party (NCP) welcomed the speech of El Burhan in which he announced the military’s withdrawal from the national dialogue and said that the armed forces “realise the gravity of the mistake they made in August 2019 when they signed the Constitutional Document” with the revolutionary forces.

Detention of Christians

On June 22, police forces raided a church in Zalingei and detained four Christian men whom they found praying, the New York-based African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) reported on Sunday. The men were charged with apostasy, as the police insisted that they had converted from Islam to Christianity even though they maintained that they are Christians.

Following questioning, they were later released but were held again shortly afterwards. Six days later, the men were released on bail. According to Darfur24.com, the four young men were subjected to torture inside the police cells.

On July 6, the case was closed because the offence of apostasy was repealed from the Sudanese Penal Code following amendments made during the transitional period by the Ministry of Justice, headed by Nasreldin Abdelbari.

In July 2020, the transitional authorities decriminalized the crime of apostasy following significant reforms to the Penal Code of 1991. Renouncing Islam had been punishable by flogging, imprisonment, and death in Sudan. “Despite this amendment, Sudanese security agencies have continued to harass Christians by raiding churches and arresting individuals who have converted from Islam to Christianity,” ACJPS stated.

Stoning

On June 26, presiding judge Haroun Adam of the Kosti Criminal Court sentenced to death by stoning, Amal* (20) - after she was found guilty of adultery. The sentence is yet to be approved by the High Court, ACJPS reported on Saturday.

The interrogation of Amal and the trial were tainted with irregularities, the report states. The investigating police officer did not inform the accused that the information she shared during her interrogation could be used as evidence against her during her trial. She was denied legal representation. The charge and penalty were not explained to her, and the authorities also failed to refer the file to the High Court for approval.

In 2021, Sudan ratified the Convention Against Torture and Cruel Punishment. “Therefore, execution by stoning as a form of state-sanctioned torture is a breach of Sudan’s human rights obligations,” the African Centre noted.

Detained displaced leaders

On Saturday, the first day of Eid El Adha (Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice), joint security forces detained four displaced community leaders from Armenkol camp in Sirba locality, West Darfur.

Mohamed Abakar told Radio Dabanga that Sheikh Ishag Omar, Sheikh Ed Dom Adam Nimir, Sheikh Khawaja El Hajj, and Sheikh Babiker Abu Salah were transferred to El Geneina, capital of the state. The reason for the detention is unknown.

Reintegration

Since the coup, El Burhan and the military have reintegrated civilian remnants of Al Bashir’s fallen regime into the government, including members of the former ruling NCP and its affiliates, Salah Ben Hammou wrote in his analysis in The Washington Post last week. “These measures include appointing party members to ministerial positions, unfreezing their financial assets and stacking the civil service with NCP loyalists,” he stated.

Affiliates of the NCP, the ruling party of the Al Bashir regime which was dissolved in November 2019, indeed welcomed the speech of El Burhan on July 4, in which he announced that the military would withdraw from the government, and leave the national dialogie to civilian forces.

The former NCP said in a statement on Sunday that they consider “the decision [of the military] to stay away from politics the most important part of the speech”. The statement said that the speech also confirms that the armed forces “realise the gravity of the mistake they made in August 2019 when they signed the Constitutional Document” with the revolutionary forces.

The contents of El Burhan's speech were widely rejected by resistance committees and other opposition groups in the country.

*The first name is an alias. The FIDH has been asked by Amal’s lawyer to preserve her anonymity in public communications.

 


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