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Sudan: Five political detainees released

January 11 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Siddig Yousef and Mohamed Diaeldin, both NCF leaders, after their release from detention on 11 January 2017 (social media)
Siddig Yousef and Mohamed Diaeldin, both NCF leaders, after their release from detention on 11 January 2017 (social media)

Four opposition leaders have suddenly been released by the security apparatus after more than a month in detention for unknown reasons. A prominent youth activist was also released today.

“We were detained for more than 50 days,” Mohamed Diaeldin, a leader in the National Consensus Forces alliance (NCF), told Radio Dabanga after his release on Wednesday afternoon. “The agents had put us in different cells.”

Diaeldin and his colleagues, Siddig Yousef, Tarig Abdelmageed and Munzer Abu El Maali were told they were free to go as of today, without any charges against them. “Our detention does not stop us from fighting for change in Sudan,” he stressed.

Yousef released a video message after the release, thanking the people in Arabic and English for their support.

The security service summoned the four opposition members to its North Khartoum office on 23 November, where they were detained immediately.

The National Security Act of 2010 vests the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) with wide powers of arrest and detention for up to four and a half months without judicial review, in addition to powers of search and seizure.

Vlogger released

Today, the NISS also released Ahmed El Dei Bushara, a sport news commentator of a FM station in Khartoum, from detention. Bushara presented himself as a spokesman for the youth activists in the civil disobedience actions on 27 November last year, which saw a general three-day strike of people in Khartoum against the liberalisation of fuel and electricity tariffs.

Bushara made a video from a moving car of the empty streets in the capital city which he put online, after which the security service detained him. Also a woman was detained for posting video messages on social media related to the civil disobedience actions.

Following his sudden release today, Bushara posted a video on social media thanking people for standing behind him and other political detainees in prison, and encouraging viewers to continue the actions against the economic measures.

Clampdown on activists, newspapers

Other opposition members, including of the Sudanese Congress Party, students and protesters in Sudan, were also detained in the weeks surrounding the civil disobedience actions against the government's policies. A number is still detained while families and activists have organised several vigils for their release in the past weeks.

Newspapers, such as El Jareeda, witnessed a severe clampdown by the NISS on those who reported on the strikes.

Plans for new protest actions are reportedly absent, but shortly after the second civil disobedience campaign on 19 December, Sudanese activists on Facebook announced the formation of a 'November 27 Movement' for organising acts of peaceful resistance against the regime.

Video message Siddig Yousef
Video message Siddig Yousef, NCF, after release on 11 January 2017
Video by vlogger Ahmed Bushara
After his release on 11 January 2017

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