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Sudan releases two more politicians, journalists remain detained

February 20 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Reporters await the release of political detainees from the prison in Khartoum on Sunday February 18, 2018 (RD)
Reporters await the release of political detainees from the prison in Khartoum on Sunday February 18, 2018 (RD)

Yesterday the Sudanese security authorities released more political detainees, while keeping several politicians and journalists detained. The National Umma Party's co-chairman Mohamed Abdallah El Doma and well-known party member Dr. Ibrahim El Amin were set free after spending a month in detention.

El Doma – who is also chairman of the Darfur Bar Association – and El Amin were detained on January 17 when the security service (NISS) launched a large-scale arrest campaign in Omdurman, in an attempt to stop the tide of protest against new austerity measures and the skyrocketing prices of basic consumer goods. Members of the National Umma Party (NUP) delegation of White Nile state were also arrested, and dozens of people and activists.

In total, security forces have detained hundreds of activists and politicians during the protests in January, and a number of journalists reporting on the events. In particular leading opposition members were held during demonstrations in Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum Bahri (North) organised by their parties.

At the time of reporting the NISS kept a number of political detainees, without providing an explanation for their continued detention. The secretary-general of the Communist Party Mohamed Mukhtar El Khateeb, President of the Sudanese Congress Party Omar El Digeir, El Wasat Islamic Party’s president Yousif El Koda, and others have not yet been released.

Journalists detained

Neither has the security apparatus released the detained journalists, namely Kamal Karrar, a correspondent for El Midan newspaper, Ahmed Jadein, an El Jareeda reporter, and El Haji Abdelrahman El Moz of Akhbar El Yowm daily newspaper. Journalist and activist Amal Habani was arrested together with Karrar.

Yesterday families of the politicians and journalists renewed their statement demanding the release of all political detainees. The statement called on the NISS to abide by the law and respect the constitutional rights of all Sudanese citizens.

Remaining detainees

The security apparatus still refuses to disclose a clear time limit for the release of the remaining political detainees, and has not disclosed any motives for the continuation of their detention, the statement reads.

“We have been very pleased with the announcement of the release of the political detainees. Then we discovered that the press conference held in Kober Prison was just an event for media consumption and a bad play. Freedom has not been granted to all honourable fighters who have been held in the security service’s detention in various parts of the country, since the beginning of this year.”

Restrained celebrations

The NISS reportedly released more than 80 political detainees in Khartoum on Sunday following a decision by President Omar Al Bashir. Several opposition parties and armed movements issued separate statements that welcomed the government’s release of some of the detainees, while demanding the release of all political detainees.

The Umma National Party: “Our welcome and celebration of the release of detainees will not make us forget the vast violations of rights because of tyranny, the wars imposed on our people throughout our country, and the hardship of living in Sudan because of corruption.”

The National Consensus Forces, an umbrella of opposition parties and civil society organisations, said that the anticipated release of political detainees on Sunday and Monday “had prompted family members […] to wait in front of Kober Prison, expecting the release of the rest of the detainees. [...] The announced decision at the press conference stated the release of all detainees, which has raised concern and speculation among their patient family members.”

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