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Sudan activist Wajdi Saleh and FFC face further ‘political targeting’

October 30 - 2022 KHARTOUM / ZALINGEI
Wajdi Saleh from the FFC-CC and Sudan Anti-Corruption Committee (Sudan Telegraph)
Wajdi Saleh from the FFC-CC and Sudan Anti-Corruption Committee (Sudan Telegraph)

The family of activist and outspoken opponent to the ousted Al Bashir regime, Wajdi Saleh, stated that the prosecution’s handling of his court case is a farce, and simply a means of “political targeting”.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Jihan Abdelwahab, wife of the leading member of the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) and the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, described her husband’s trial as an effort “to break his will and distort his image under the guise of justice”.

Abdelwahab stated the Public Prosecutor have delayed proceedings, thereby slowing down any effort for Saleh’s exoneration. According to Saleh’s wife, the prosecution did not request the case papers which allow for a court examination by the Defence Authority.

On September 30, Saleh handed himself over to authorities in Khartoum, following orders from Sudan’s Public Prosecution Office declaring him a fugitive. In a video posted on Saleh’s Facebook page, he denied any attempts to flee from the prosecutors, stating that his “phone was constantly on” and that he was “present on the streets and public seminars”.

Lawyer Moez Hazrat said that the actions taken by the Public Prosecution Office were an “exploitation of the prosecution to settle political scores”.

Saleh has been detention incommunicado since he handed himself over to authorities.

FFC harassment

Earlier this month, Bakheet Hariri, a police officer working with the detective unit at Zalingei Police Station in Central Darfur filed a case under the under the Article 24 the Cybercrime Act (2018), against four political leaders affiliated with the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), according to the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS).

This came after a Facebook post published by the FFC on August 3, accused the Darfur police officer of an unjustified assault on Omer Abdelrahman Arbab.

Hamdan Ali, Ahmed El Tahir, Nimeiri Jumaa, and Hafiz Ibrahim were all detained at Zalingei Police Station on October 17.

ACJPS reported that over the years social media platforms have been used by Sudan’s government to “extended its repressive tactics”, by carrying out arrests and interrogating individuals for their online activity under the Cybercrimes Act.

'The government of Sudan has relied on restrictive laws to control press freedom as well as online activity'– ACJPS

According to ACJPS, four people in Sudan were charged with defamation under the Cybercrimes Act for their social media activity. A human rights defender was also charged under the act in March last year for “spreading false news”, following a critical Facebook she had posted.

In July 2020, the Sovereignty Council signed into law the Cybercrime Prevention (Amendment) Act 2020. These revisions increased terms of imprisonment for various penalties, including the online publication of false news, which was now punishable by a maximum prison term of four years, from the previous maximum of one year.

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