Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) prevented seven prominent opposition leaders from travelling to the French capital on Friday and Saturday.
Omar Yousef El Digeir, head of the Sudanese Congress Party, Kamal Ismail, chairman of the National Alliance Party, Yahya Hussein, heading the Sudanese Baath Party, Mohamed Abdallah El Doma and Maryam El Sadig, both deputy head of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sarah Nugdallah, NUP secretary-general, and Jalila Khamis Kuku of the Civil Society Initiative, were stopped at the Khartoum International Airport.
They are all leading members of the Sudan Appeal, a two-page document calling for regime-change and democracy, signed by them and the rebel movements allied in the Sudan Revolutionary Front, in Addis Ababa in December 2014.
The seven leaders intended to travel to Paris for a series of meetings of the Sudan Appeal Leadership Council under auspices of the Organization for Humanitarian Dialogue. During the meetings, scheduled to start today, the opposition leaders would develop “new practical steps” for the implementation of the Sudan Appeal document.
El Digeir, who is also chairman of the Sudan Appeal forces inside Sudan, told Radio Dabanga that he was halted by NISS officers at the airport on Saturday.
He described the decision to prevent them from travelling as “a flagrant violation of all basic rights. The move shows the extent of the political crisis in the country, and the authorities’ resorting to oppressive security solutions. The Khartoum regime is far from ready to accept peaceful solutions.”
According to the secretary-general of the NUP, the government “is not serious about a national and comprehensive dialogue with all Sudan’s political forces that could lead to a way out from the various crises the country is suffering from”.
She said that the outcomes of “Al Bashir’s own National Dialogue that recommended the restoration of fundamental freedoms, the release of political detainees, and the ending of the wars, seem to have no value at all”.
Nugdallah further told this station that the NISS officers witheld her passport, and the passports of El Sadig, El Doma, and Kuku as well.
Hussein said he expected to be barred by the NISS after human rights defender and chairman of the Civil Society Initiative, Amin Mekki Medani, was prevented from travelling to Cairo for medical treatment on Thursday.
“After the US announced the lifting of sanctions against the Khartoum regime on Friday, I thought that they would change their mind and let us travel the next day,” he said, “as the government is supposed to improve its human rights position.”