Sudanese authorities have released two outspoken former government officials from prison, according to lawyers, as part of efforts to end the country’s political impasse.
Sudan has been rocked by unrest since a military coup in October upended the country’s shaky path to democracy following three decades of harsh leadership by former strongman Omar al-Bashir. In April 2019, Al-Bashir and his Islamist-backed administration were deposed in a popular uprising.
According to their defense team, Khalid Omar, a former minister of Cabinet affairs, was released late Tuesday while Mohammed al-Faki Suliman, a former member of the ruling Sovereign Council, walked free from a prison in Khartoum on Wednesday.
According to their lawyers, the Criminal Court in northern Khartoum denied prosecutors’ request to extend their imprisonment until investigations into a variety of vague allegations, including suspected betrayal of public trust.
Both Omar and Suliman were detained during the October 25 coup, along with hundreds of other officials, and were released a month later as part of a settlement between the military and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. After failing to bridge the gap between the generals and the protest movement, the premier resigned in January.
During a crackdown by the generals on anti-coup groups in February, the two men were re-arrested. Hundreds of protestors have also been detained as a result of the military’s takeover.
According to a Sudanese medical association, the crackdown on protestors killed more than 90 individuals, largely young men, and injured many more.
Suliman was also the deputy head of a government-run body entrusted with eradicating former dictatorial President Omar al-legacy. Bashir’s regime’s The Committee to Dismantle the Regime of June 30, 1989, is the name of the organization, which refers to the Islamist-backed military coup that brought al-Bashir to office. It was formed after the revolt and worked for two years to remove al-supporters Bashir from government positions.
Generals have frequently questioned the agency’s functioning, including coup leader Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan. Following the coup, it was dismantled, and the generals created a new committee to evaluate its decisions. Many of the agency’s decisions were overturned, which critics of the military saw as a method for Islamists aligned with the generals to gain an advantage.
The military coup has thrown the country into chaos and thrown the country’s already shaky economy into free decline, with living standards fast deteriorating.
Sudan’s UN ambassador, Volker Perthes, warned in March that the country was on the verge of an economic and security catastrophe unless it addressed its political impasse. The generals were enraged by Perthes’ remarks before the United Nations Security Council, and Burhan vowed to deport him.
Perthes is now leading collaborative efforts with the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority in Development, or IGAD, an eight-nation East African regional group, to organize Sudanese-led political discussions.