Sudanese opposition leaders barred from travelling to Strasbourg

Security officers prevented opposition leaders from travelling to Strasbourg to attend an European Parliament hearing on Sudan on Tuesday.

Security officers prevented opposition leaders from travelling to France today. They were invited to participate in the European Parliament hearing on Sudan in Strasbourg, scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

The passports of seven opposition leaders, including Maryam El Sadig El Mahdi and Mohamed Abdallah El Doma, co vice-presidents of the National Umma Party (NUP), Siddig Yousef, senior member of Sudanese Communist Party, and Fathi Nuri of the Baath Party, were taken from them at Khartoum Airport early this (Monday) morning.

Farah El Agar, legal consultant of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), and Ibrahim El Sheikh, head of the Sudanese Congress Party were stopped from travelling to Strasbourg on Saturday. Faroug Abu Eisa, chairman of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), a coalition of opposition parties, was not allowed to travel to Cairo for medical checks last Wednesday.

Abu Eisa told Radio Dabanga on Sunday that he expected the rest of the delegation members would also be prevented from travelling.

Security officers had informed him on Wednesday that the travel ban is a political decision, and unrelated to the case filed against him and Dr El Amin Mekki Madani, chairman of the Civil Society Initiative, by the security apparatus for signing the Sudan Appeal in Addis Ababa on 3 December last year. “They said that the case against us was written off by the Attorney General in accordance with Article 58 of the Criminal Procedures Code.”

The NCF leader, Madani and El Agar were detained on 6 December, a day after their return from the Ethiopian capital. Together with leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance and the NUP, Abu Eisa and Madani had signed the Sudan Appeal, a two-page document calling for regime-change, and the formation of a new Sudan, based on democratic principles and equal citizenship.

They were released on 9 April, some day before the start of the general election. NUP leader El Sadig El Mahdi, and the SRF rebel leaders remain abroad.  

Abu Eisa called the travel ban “an affront to the European Parliament, reflecting Khartoum’s aggressive attitude against the EU and the international community since decades”.

‘Peaceful means’

Malik Agar, head of the SRF and the SPLM-N, also strongly condemned the travel ban on the opposition leaders last week.

He told Radio Dabanga on Sunday that the action is “clear evidence of the continuation of the government’s suppression of civic freedoms and its war policies.

“Those banned from travelling intended to contribute to the Sudanese peace process. By barring them, the regime affirms its rejection of ending the wars in the country by peaceful means,” he stressed.

The SRF members, including the SPLM-N, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), headed by Dr Jibril Ibrahim, the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) of Abdel Wahid El Nur, and the SLM split-off faction, led by Minni Minawi, will conclude a three-day conference in Paris today. They discussed the restructuring of the SRF management and the future strategies of the opposition forces.