Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sudan President Bashir Gives Green Light to Release Detained Opposition Leaders
January 21, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir has given the green light for the release of the opposition leader Farouk Abu Issa and Human rights prominent activist Amin Meeki Mandi, the official news agency confirmed on Wednesday evening.

The two spokesmen of the national dialogue committee announced the eminent release of the two detained leaders following a meeting of the (7 +7) body with president Bashir to brief him about the ongoing preparations for the launch of the internal process.

Information minister and (7 +7) spokesperson from the government side, Ahmed al Balal, following the meeting told reporters that the dialogue committee presented an initiative to release four political prisoners, on their top Farouk Abu Issa, noting that the move was part of the committee’s efforts to create the right atmosphere for the national dialogue.

For his part, Mr. Bushara Juma a member of the (7 +7) and spokesman of the opposition forces said that president al-Bashir agreed in principle to the committee’s initiative for the release of the four detainees.

Different sources told Sudan Tribune that their release will be effective on Thursday.

Abu Issa who chairs the opposition National Consensus Forces (NCF) and Madani who heads the Alliance of the Sudanese Civil Society Organisations have been detained since 6 December after the signing of the “Sudan Call” with the rebel umbrella, Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the opposition National Umma Party in Addis Ababa on 3 December.

Also the security service detained a former ruling National Congress Party (NCP) member from the Blue Nile state, Farah Agar, and his office manager, Mohamed Eldoud for meeting with the rebel groups on the sidelines of peace talks in Addis Ababa.

The opposition and civil society groups staged several protests and meetings for their release. Also, a team of lawyers formed a defence team to secure their freedom submitted a memo to the minister of justice, Mohamed Bushara Dousa demanding their release or putting them on trial.

Omer Abdel-A’ati, head of the defence team, who met with Dousa on Wednesday, said the minister expressed his keen interest in the detainees’ case and stressed their incarceration should not last long.

Abdel-A’ati pointed out the minister referred the memo to one of his advisors and asked him to prepare a response, adding he “vowed to respond to the memo today or tomorrow”.

He noted that he emphasised to the minister the need to enforce the law, pointing the defence team sees no legal foundations for the arrest of the opposition leaders and demands them be put to trial or released immediately.

The head of the defence team further said he told the minister that the memo submitted by the pro-government Bar Association demanding the release of their clients does not represent them, stressing that Abu Issa and Madani have not authorised the Bar Association to request the president or justice minister to pardon them.

Earlier this month the Bar Association submitted a request to president Omer Hassan al-Bashir through the justice minister demanding the release of Abu Issa and Madani because of their age, health condition and good faith.

On January 2, Abu Issa asked his family and any other party to stop requesting his release on the basis of his age and health conditions, assuring opposition forces and supporters that he remains steadfast and his morale is high.

The “Sudan Call” is the first political declaration signed by all the opposition parties, rebel and civil society groups calling for the end of war, dismantlement of the one-party state, achievement of a comprehensive peace and democratic transition in the country.

It comes in support to the agreement on the national dialogue and constitutional process signed between the SRF rebels and the African Union mediation team headed by Thabo Mbeki last September .

The Sudanese president accused signatories of the “Sudan Call” of being agents to foreign powers and warned them from returning to the country.

Bashir bans any contact with the rebels saying it undermines the morale of the army and government forces who fight them in Darfur region, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.


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