Sudan’s ousted president Omar Al Bashir has met with Public Prosecutors in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, to hear charges that will be brought against him in a trial scheduled to begin next week.
The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that the Prosecution for Combating Corruption has directed charges against the deposed president Omar Al Bashir for violations of foreign currency laws, illegal wealth, violation of the Emergency Order, and possession of Sudanese cash exceeding the maximum amount allowed.
The charges were directed in personal presence of the deposed president and representatives of the defence, including Ahmed Ibrahim Tahir, Mohamed Hassan Amin and Hashim Abubakr Jaali.
An official source at the Public Prosecution said in a statement to SUNA that the ousted president was informed about his right to appeal against the charges within one week to the supreme prosecutor. Pictures show Al Bashir, clothed in traditional Sudanese garb, being transferred by car from Kober prison – which his regime made notorious – in Khartoum North, to the offices of the Attorney General.
The Attorney-General announced on Saturday via SUNA that the trial of Al Bashir will be held next week.
He said in a press conference in the public prosecutor’s office in Khartoum that the investigation in the case had been completed, the charge has been prepared, and the suit would be brought before trial after the legal period of seven days.
On Thursday, the Public Prosecution announced completion of all the investigations in the criminal case filed against Al Bashir.
Al Bashir, who was deposed by a military coup on April 11 has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide in Darfur, however the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) have opted to try him in Sudan.
Bags of cash found in a search of Al Bashir’s Khartoum residence
On April 18, Sudanese authorities seized a substantial amount of cash during a search of deposed Al Bashir’s residence in Khartoum, including $351 million, €6,7 million, £5.2 million, and SDG 5 billion ($105 million).
Sudan’s military leaders say they are scrapping all existing agreements with the main opposition coalition and will hold elections within nine months.
The announcement came as the military faced mounting international condemnation for their violent attack on protesters in the capital, Khartoum, which reportedly left at least 30 dead.
See video in the web article – link at bottom of this article.
The US said it was a “brutal attack”.
The crackdown came after the military and protesters agreed a three-year transition period to civilian rule.
Demonstrators argue that former regime of President Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown by the military in April after months of protests, is so deeply entrenched that a transition of at least three years is needed to dismantle his political network and allow fair elections.
Sudanese protesters are gathered during a sit-in outside military headquarters after clashing with security forces in Khartoum on 15 May 2019. Picture: AFP
20 May, 2019 . Sudan army rulers, protesters plan more talks after no agreement.
KHARTOUM – Sudan’s army rulers and protest leaders said more talks were planned for Monday on finalising the makeup of a new ruling body, after hours of negotiations through the night ended without agreement.
Both sides have been at loggerheads over the new governing body that would rule Sudan for a three-year transitional period after the ouster last month of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
The latest discussions were launched Sunday evening following pressure from world powers to install a civilian-led governing body – a key demand of demonstrators.
After continuing into the early hours of Monday, the ruling military council announced the talks would resume at 9:00 pm (1900 GMT).
“The structure of the sovereign authority has been discussed,” Lieutenant General Shamseddine Kabbashi, spokesperson of the military council, told reporters.
“It’s agreed to resume negotiations today (Monday) evening… hoping to reach a final deal.”
The Sudanese Professional Association – the group that initially launched the protest campaign against Bashir in December, said Monday that it was in no rush to finalise the deal.
“We are not in a hurry for the crucial victory… whatever be the outcome, it will be a step forward,” it wrote on Twitter without elaborating.
The agreement had been expected on Wednesday, but the military council suspended the negotiations for 72 hours.
Ahead of Sunday’s talks, the umbrella protest movement – the Alliance for Freedom and Change – raised the ante by insisting that the country’s ruling body be “led by a civilian as its chairman and with a limited military representation”.
The existing military council is headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the generals insist that the overall new body be military-led.
On the eve of the talks, hundreds of supporters of Islamist movements rallied outside the presidential palace in Khartoum warning they would reject any deal that would exclude sharia – Islamic law – from the country’s political roadmap.
“The main reason for the mobilisation is that the alliance is ignoring the application of sharia in its deal,” said Al-Tayieb Mustafa, who heads a coalition of about 20 Islamic groups.
“This is irresponsible and if that deal is done, it is going to open the door of hell for Sudan,” he told AFP.
Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989 and Sudanese legislation has since been underpinned by Islamic law.
The protest leaders have so far remained silent on whether sharia has a place in Sudan’s future, arguing that their main concern is installing a civilian administration.
Saudi Arabia meanwhile on Sunday deposited $250 million in Sudan’s central bank as part of an aid package it announced following Bashir’s ouster.
The UAE said on 28 April it would also deposit $250 million in Sudan’s central bank.
The oil-rich Gulf states have pledged a further $2.5 billion in aid to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products.
It was Sudan’s worsening economic crisis that triggered nationwide protests against Bashir.
Before talks were suspended earlier this week, the generals and protest leaders had agreed on several key issues, including a three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two-thirds of lawmakers to come from the protesters’ umbrella group.
But those talks were marred by violence after five protesters and an army major were shot dead near the ongoing sit-in outside the military headquarters in central Khartoum, where thousands have camped out for weeks.
Initially, the protesters gathered to demand Bashir resign – but they have stayed put, to pressure the generals into stepping aside.
The protesters had also erected roadblocks on some avenues in Khartoum to put further pressure on the generals during negotiations, but the military rulers demanded that they be removed.
Protesters duly took the roadblocks down in recent days – but they said they will put them back up if the army fails to transfer power to a civilian administration.
The generals have allowed protesters to maintain their sit-in outside army headquarters.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is under house arrest in the wake of Thursday morning’s military coup which has forced him to step down after 30 years in power marked by a brutal and dictatorial leadership, according to reports.
Earlier, government sources confirmed Bashir had stepped down in the wake of country-wide anti-government protests that have engulfed the country since last December. The military has taken over national TV and radio and arrested a number of former and current top leaders. Khartoum Airport has been closed.
The headquarters of the notorious and feared National Intelligence Security Services (NISS) – which has been responsible for much of the killing of protesters, their arrest and torture in prison – has also come under attack from protesters, as well as some members of the military as they free the remaining protesters arrested by the NISS.
The action of the military eventually siding with their fellow countrymen has helped bring Bashir’s government down.
Swarms of euphoric protesters are thronging the streets of the capital with some mounting military vehicles chanting “We have won, we have won”.
Faced by serious economic crisis, Sudan has shut 13 of its overseas missions and ordered job cuts at the foreign ministry.
President Omar al-Bashir gave the order , according to report on Thursday.
Bashir’s order comes days after he fired foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour after he said Sudanese diplomats abroad had not been paid for months.
“President Omar al-Bashir issued a decree ordering the closing of 13 Sudanese diplomatic missions,” the official SUNA news agency reported early Thursday, quoting the decree.
It did not name which missions were to be shuttered.
The president also ordered seven other missions to reduce their diplomatic staff to just one person, and a broader 20 percent cut to administrative staff at all missions, SUNA reported.
“The decisions have been taken in order to cut costs given the economic situation in the country,” the decree said, according to SUNA.
Bashir’s order, in addition, included the dismissal of the entirety of the administrative staff at the foreign ministry, with diplomats taking over their duties, the agency reported.
There were no figures on how many job cuts were to take place in total.
Sudan has been facing financial difficulties amid an acute shortage of hard foreign currency that has seen the African country’s economic crisis worsen.
Ghandour had been the first official to portray a grim picture of the country’s economic woes publicly when he told parliament in April that for months Sudanese diplomats had not been paid and many wanted to return to Khartoum.
Bashir sacked him a day later on April 19.
Sudan has been hit hard by an acute shortage of foreign currency that has seen the pound plunging against the dollar, forcing the central bank to devalue it twice since January.
Expectations of a quick economic revival had been high after Washington lifted a trade embargo.
But officials say the situation has not changed at all as international banks continue to be wary of doing business with Sudanese banks.
Sudan’s overall economy was hit particularly hard after the south separated from the north in 2011, taking with it about 75 per cent of oil earnings.
A surging inflation rate of about 56 percent, regular fuel shortages and rising prices of food items have triggered sporadic anti-government protests in Khartoum and some other towns.
El Obeid — The President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, has promised ‘to re-build the Sudanese Armed Forces and to equip them with up-to-date technologies’. He also undertook to raise army salaries.
Speaking today at the inauguration the Fifth Infantry Division Officer’s Club in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, Al Bashir said: “The armed forces have the most advanced military factories in the region and weapons and ammunition used by the army are made by Sudanese factories,” the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports.
Speaking in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces, Al Bashir added that “Sudan has been enjoying a real peace thanks to the efforts of the military.
“We will work to make salaries of members of the army be the highest in the country,” he said, pointing to “huge sacrifices by members of the armed forces in maintaining the security and stability amid plots being interwoven against Sudan’s stability and security.”
In July 2004 UN Security Council resolution 1556 imposed an open-ended arms embargo on all non-governmental entities and individuals operating in North Darfur, South Darfur, and West Darfur in reaction to the ongoing human rights abuses and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region.
The arms embargo was strengthened by subsequent UN Security Council resolution 1591 (March 2005) however UN panels of experts repeatedly observed military equipment in Darfur for which there was good reason to assume that it was delivered to Sudan after that date.
In October 2010 Security Council resolution 1945 further strengthened the arms embargo by deciding that all States shall ensure that any sale or supply of arms and related materiel to Sudan not prohibited by resolutions 1556 and 1591, are made conditional upon the necessary end user documentation so that States may ascertain that any such sale or supply is conducted consistent with the measures imposed by those resolutions.
The office of the UN Secretary-General fielded critical questions regarding a confirmed meeting between Antonio Guterres and Al Bashir occurred in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on the periphery of the African Union summit in late January. At the daily press briefing in New York on January 31, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters that it occurred out of “operational necessity”, and that “the rules of procedures were followed” in terms of informing the ICC prosecution of such a meeting.
In October 2017, the USA issued a decision to lift a 20-year trade embargo on Sudan, however the decision leaves other sanctions in place for the time being, including those against individuals with arrest warrants related to atrocities committed during the conflict in Darfur. And it does not remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
In addition to those deployed internally, Sudan has had hundreds of troops in Yemen since 2015 to bolster the mostly Gulf Arab alliance fighting the Iran-allied Houthi movement. The coalition includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan.
In April 2017, five Sudanese soldiers were killed when Yemeni forces backed by the coalition took control of a volcanic mountain on a road toward the Khalid bin al-Waleed military base, a key stronghold of the Houthis in southwestern Taiz province.
In June 2017, 17 Sudanese soldiers were killed and dozens more wounded at Midi of Hajjah province, in north-west Yemen.
March 2, 2018 (TONJ) – The newly appointed governor of South Sudan’s Tonj state, Anthony Bol Madut has issued an order calling for disarming of all youth involved in community clashes within the state.
Dozens were killed in clashes that occurred in Tonj last week.
Clashes between the Twic and Kongoor communities on Saturday also left more than 20 people, state authorities told Sudan Tribune.
The incident, officials said, was started when youth from Twic county raided cattle from the grazing land of Kongoor in Jal-wau county.
Despite the skirmishes, normal situation has reportedly been restored.
A disarmament order was on Thursday ordered by the governor, calling on all armed civilians to handover their guns within a week.
“All the chiefs, community leaders and commissioners are directed to inform the armed civilians to lay down their guns or gather their guns under their chiefs and hand them over to the government,” said the governor.
A peace conference, he stated, will take place after the disarmament process.
December 7, 2017 (JUBA) – Goethe Institut, a German-based institute, has donated 200 books to the Aggrey Jaden Cultural Centre, which develops children through arts and music creativity.
At the center, children aged 5 to 13 years are taught art and craft, drawing and molding, formal education, music and tree planting.
“To keep children out of trouble or doing bad things after they come back from school or when they are on holidays, the after school program with music, African drum beating lessons for boys and girls keeps them busy till they go home in the evening,” the center said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
Lack of funds run these activities at the cultural center attracted the German embassy that saw Goethe Institut donate childrens’ books.
Also, through the German embassy’s small scale project fund, the cultural center had been earmarked to receive a simple solar backup system and a water tank, which will facilities its activities.
“Now, the centre can offer a new activity for the kids: 200 kids’ books age 2 up to 15 are given by German Goethe Institut to the center. Story reading and self-reading time will be the new activity to encourage the children to read and learn”, the center further noted.
The Aggrey Jaden Cultural Center is a community-based non-profit cultural organization located in Juba. It was founded by a former administrator in the old Sudan in 1924, who passed on in 1985.
The centre was established with the aim and vision of changing peoples’ lives by giving back to the community through art and music.
Former President of Botswana Festus Mogae attends a private pre-Oscar dinner celebrating Diamonds In Africa hosted by Julianne Moore at the Chateau Marmont on February 21, 2009 in West Hollywood, Image: David Livingston/WireImage
Former Botswana president Festus Mogae says African leaders should ask themselves whether they are promoting peace or have departed from the values of ubuntu and acquired a selfish character that encourages self-interest.
He was a keynote speaker during the annual Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus on Saturday.
This year marks 50 years since Luthuli‚ the longest serving ANC president‚ died under mysterious circumstances on July 21 1967.
Mogae described Luthuli as one of the “historic and heroic figures in Africa’s political history” whose major strategy “was peaceful resistance and a passionate belief in peaceful co-existence of people‚ communities and nations”.
He said Luthuli’s values should continue to be the lodestar of African leadership today.
“Chief Luthuli bequeathed to us a tradition of tolerance‚ love‚ mutual respect‚ multiracialism and above all peaceful settlement of differences in all spheres of life. He remains not only an inspiration to African leaders‚ but also a symbol of peace upon which we should reflect and from which we should learn.”
He said Luthuli was an effective and impactful leader who believed in peaceful co-existence‚ social harmony‚ freedom and equality before the law.
“The question that arises for us who received peace as the most powerful tool from Chief Albert Luthuli and others like Nelson Mandela‚ is whether or not‚ as African leader of today we are promoting peace and leading peaceful communities and societies.
“In other words‚ are treating the peaceful character of African leadership and forefathers sacredly and respectfully or have we departed from the values of ubuntu and acquired the individualistic and selfish character that encourages a culture of exclusive self-interest which contradicts the African communal personality?
“Is this why throughout the continent‚ families‚ communities and nations are tearing each other apart like Cain killing his brother Abel?”
Mogae‚ who is the current chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission on the Implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan‚ said Luthuli was a “distinguished man of peace” whose voice could not be drowned by the oppressor.
“In winning the Nobel Peace Prize‚ it testified to Chief Luthuli’s long commitment to peaceful resolution of differences.”
A leading U.S. diplomat visiting Sudan said the United States is willing to work with the Sudanese government to help it achieve the conditions necessary to remove its designation as a “Country of Particular Concern” in the U.S. State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report.
Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan was speaking on Nov. 17 at the Al-Neelain Mosque in Omdurman, located on the western bank of the Nile River, which separates it from the national capital.
Sullivan said “supporting human rights, including religious freedom, has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of the United States’ bilateral engagement with Sudan.”
The event at the mosque included leading Muslim and Christian clergy. Sudan is 97 percent Muslim, and the small Christian community has faced harassment, especially since the predominantly Christian and animist south of the country became the independent state of South Sudan in 2011.
The State Department’s 2016 International Religious Freedom Report cited reports of government arresting, detaining, or intimidating Christian clergy and church members, denying permits for the construction of new churches, closing or demolishing existing churches and attempting to close church schools, restricting non-Muslim religious groups and missionaries from operating in or entering the country, and censoring religious materials and leaders.
It is not only Christians who face harassment. Ethnic minorities have also been the victims of military campaigns against the government, and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges linked to conflict in the Darfur region.
Despite the fact Sudan is designated by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Obama administration in 2015 sought to improve relations with Khartoum.
In June 2016, Sudan and the United States initiated a historic framework for improving ties between the two countries, the so-called Five Track Engagement Plan.
The plan called for Sudan to end hostilities in conflict regions such as Darfur, Kordofan, and the areas bordering South Sudan; improve access for humanitarian agencies in the country; refrain from interfering in South Sudan; cooperate with regional efforts against the Ugandan militant group, the Lord’s Resistance Army; and cooperate with the United States in counter-terrorism efforts.
Citing progress in these areas, the U.S. government last month ended some sanctions against the Sudanese government.
It achieved another victory on Nov. 16, when Sudan said it will cut all military and trade ties to North Korea, further isolating Pyongyang.
However, Sullivan said much work remains to be done, especially in the area of human rights.
He said the reason he was meeting with Muslims and Christians in a mosque was to “emphasize that the United States cares deeply about religious freedom in Sudan.
“Interfaith understanding, respect, and the protection of religious freedom and other human rights are bulwarks against extremism,” the U.S. diplomat said.
“Religious tolerance is a building block of peace and security and is the mark of responsible governance. The treatment of members of religious minorities is often the ultimate indicator of a government’s commitment to these values.”
Sullivan said by taking steps to enhance protections for religious freedom, the Sudanese government will make the entire country more stable and secure.
During their meetings with government officials, the U.S. delegation in Sudan suggested the government convene a roundtable with members of religious minority groups about property registration issues.
Sullivan said this was because officials had told the delegation registration problems have been used as the rationale for the demolitions of places of worship.
“The Government of Sudan, including the Federal States, should also immediately suspend demolitions of places of worship, including churches and mosques,” he said.
Sullivan brought up the history of the Catholic Church in the United States as an example of how a country can move from religious distrust to a more pluralistic society.
“I am the grandson of Irish-Catholic immigrants who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1880s. At the time they arrived – and for many decades that followed – Catholics in the United States faced widespread prejudice based on their religion,” he said. “When John F. Kennedy – another Catholic from my home state – ran for president of the United States in 1960, he even had to give a prominent speech to reassure the nation that his faith was compatible with the duties of the office of president.”
Sullivan said recalling such history “seems quaint” today, but added it took many decades – “it was not easy” – to reach the point where it is “nearly unthinkable” that one’s status as a Catholic in the United States would serve as a disadvantage to a person’s ambitions for life.
“The American experience in this regard underscores that respect for the human dignity of every person – regardless of religious belief or origin – is a key component of not only protecting human rights, but also fostering a society that can flourish, build upon each other’s strengths, and move forward together,” he said.
Sullivan concluded by saying he was “deeply encouraged” by his meetings with Sudanese government and civil society representatives, and said the religious leaders he met were a “deep source of inspiration.
“Indeed, there are challenges that lie ahead, but we should all have reason for hope and optimism about the growing engagement between our two countries,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump has promised that the protection and promotion of religious freedom is a foreign policy priority for his administration.
This article incorporates material from the Associated Press.