Sudan’s opposition calls for mass protest against trial of Darfuri student
The Sudanese opposition has called for a mass rally in front of the North Khartoum Criminal court on Tuesday afternoon, when the judge will will deliver his verdict in the case of Asim Omar, a student at Khartoum University, who is facing capital charges for allegedly killing a policeman.
The opposition forces allied by the Sudan Call [Sudan Appeal] held a press conference at the premises of the National Umma Party (NUP) in Omdurman on Sunday, in which they called on “all Sudanese” to protest the trial against Omar.
Asim Omar was held in May last year, against the backdrop of student protests at his university. “Asim did not know the reasons for his arrest and was not informed of the charges against him. He was promised to be released on bail, which later turned out to be misleading,” one of his lawyers told Radio Dabanga at the time.
Later he was told that he was charged with killing a police officer during the protests. He was detained for more than 14 months in detention centres of Sudan’s security apparatus and Kober Prison in Khartoum North, before he was brought to trial.
According to Sarah Nugdallah, NUP Secretary-general and spokeswoman, the case of Omar is a not a criminal issue but a political one.
“The Sudanese justice system is selective and used only to settle cases against political opponents, in an ugly exploitation of the laws and its enforcement bodies,” she said, and warned against “targeting Darfuri students with fabricated charges”.
She described Omar as “a symbol for the Sudanese students and universities targeted by the regime since 1989”.
Ayoub Hamdan, spokesman for the Sudanese student movements, said that “the students’ options are open if Asim Omar is convicted in this political, fabricated case”.
“If case he gets the death sentence, we will organise various protests. We will all take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations, resign collectively from the universities, and make use of many other peaceful means to show our discontent.
“We are ready to provide a million students for the gallows,” he said.
Dr Ali El Hajj, Secretary-General of the Popular Congress Party, stated that the heads of all 40 public universities in the country are members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). Their deputies mostly come from the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
El Hajj called on the NCP “to lift its hand from all universities, and stop forging student elections, and attack protesting students”.
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