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PM Hamdok orders Sudan police to release detainees

November 25 - 2021 KHARTOUM / SENNAR / EL GEDAREF
PM Abdallah Hamdok (File photo: SUNA)
PM Abdallah Hamdok (File photo: SUNA)

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok has ordered the Sudanese police not to intervene in today’s mass demonstrations, and to initiate the release of all detained members of the resistance committees.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Hamdok said that he held a meeting with the Deputy Director General of the Police Forces, Lt Gen El Sadig Ali Ibrahim, to discuss security during the demonstrations planned for today, and to initiate procedures for the release of all detainees from the resistance committees in the capital and the states, effective immediately.

Hamdok emphasised that he issued strict instructions to the police leaders not to interfere with the demonstrations, “as this is contrary to the political agreement“. He stressed that “peaceful demonstration is an inherent right”.

‘The political agreement is of no value if the release of detainees is not implemented’ – PM Abdullah Hamdok

The political detainees in Sennar embarked an open hunger strike on Tuesday, protesting their prolonged detention since the October 25 coup, during which no charges were brought against them, and they were “deprived of the most basic rights”.

Sources said that among the detainees on hunger strike are Mahi Suleiman, the governor of Sennar, and Ali Tarig El Aresh, the spokesman for the Empowerment Removal Committee* in the state.

In El Gedaref, the family of the detainee Wajdi Khalifa, spokesman for the Empowerment Removal Committee in that state, expressed concern about the condition of their son, who has been detained incommunicado since November 2, by military intelligence.

The authorities continued to detain a large number of politicians, activists and resistance committees after the signing of the El Burhan-Hamdok agreement, which the Darfur Bar Association estimates at more than 250 people.

In his statement to journalists on Wednesday, Hamdok pledged to release all detainees by today (Thursday), remarking that “the political agreement is of no value if the release of detainees is not implemented”.

* The full name of the committee is the Committee for Dismantling the June 30 1989 Regime, Removal of Empowerment and Corruption and Recovery of Public Funds. It was established by the government of Abdallah Hamdok in November 2019 with the aim to purge Sudan of the remnants of the ousted regime of dictator Omar Al Bashir (1989-2019). Empowerment (tamkin) is the term with which the Al Bashir government supported its affiliates by granting them far-going privileges, including government functions, the setting-up of various companies, and tax exemptions.

On September 26, security forces charged with the protection of the office building of the ERC and recovered assets were instructed to abandon their posts, leaving the office and assets vulnerable. To date it is unclear who was responsible for the orders. In social media, various Sudanese accused the military establishment to be behind the move. Last Thursday, thousands of people took part in demonstrations in support of the ERC and the democratic transition in the country. They denounced the tensions between the military and civilian components of the Sudanese government, and called for the establishment of a civilian government.

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