Opposition party head retains stance on Sudan militias; seven others released
Ibrahim Sheikh, president of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), who was released on Monday after having been detained for more than three months, has not changed his opinion about the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). On Tuesday, seven PCP members were released.
El Sheikh confirmed to Radio Dabanga on Tuesday that he keeps to his standpoint that the RSF militias, commanded by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), are unconstitutional. This standpoint was the reason for his detention on 8 June by NISS agents in En Nahud, El Sheikh’s hometown, in West Kordofan.
He was charged with undermining the constitutional order, opposing military actions, calling for armed opposition, publication of false news, and disturbing public peace. According to the security apparatus, he had humiliated the RSF at a symposium, by calling them “Janjaweed with no religion or ethics, raping women, abusing and killing civilians”. The party head was released by order of the Sudanese President.
The SCP head reiterated his standpoint that the RSF are unconstitutional. “According to the Sudanese Constitution, the task of the NISS is to collect and analyse information, and to present recommendations to the decision-making bodies in Sudan. The Sudanese army is entrusted with the defence of the country and its people, not militias.”
He confirmed that the party and he were pressured several times by the authorities to renounce their stance, and apologise for his criticism of the RSF and the NISS.
Concerning the Paris Declaration, signed on 8 August in the French capital by the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, an alliance of main rebel movements), and the National Umma Party, El Sheikh commented that it constitutes a “step in the right direction to solve the problems of the country”. “The Declaration has broken the barrier of inertia, and the lack of trust between the armed movements and the opposition parties. This document, and the principles’ agreement on the National Dialogue, signed by the SRF and members of the National Dialogue Steering Committee in Addis Ababa recently, represent a roadmap for a unified project.”
On Tuesday, seven SCP cadres were released too from the prison of El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan: University of West Kordofan lecturer Siddig Nourein, detained on 16 January during student protests, journalist Hassan Ishag, held on 10 June for publishing an interview with El Sheikh about the RSF militias, and five student members, also detained on 10 June.
The EU Ambassadors in Khartoum welcomed the release of opposition figures Dr Maryam El Mahdi, co-deputy president of the National Umma Party, and Ibrahim El Sheikh, “as part of the important confidence-building measures mentioned in the Addis Agreement of 5 September 2014”.
In a press release, issued on Wednesday, the EU ambassadors stress that in order “to create a truly conducive environment for the holding of the national dialogue, this move should be followed by the adoption and implementation of other steps to ensure the full respect of political freedoms, including enacting the necessary legislation to give effect to these freedoms, the release of all other political detainees, and the opening of space for legitimate activities of the civil society.”
File photo: Ibrahim El Sheikh
Sudanese Congress Party head released (15 September 2014)
Health of detained Sudanese journalist deteriorating (28 august 2014)
‘Sudan's Rapid Support Forces unconstitutional’: lawyer (12 June 2014)
Sudanese Congress Party leaders detained (12 June 2014)
Sudanese Congress Party members and journalist detained (11 June 2014)
West Kordofan lecturer detained because of Darfuri students (17 January 2014)
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