Hundreds march in Khartoum seeking justice for martyrs
KHARTOUM: Ousted president Omar Al-Bashir’s party on Friday condemned Sudan’s new “illegal government” for ordering its closure and the dismantling of his regime that ruled the country for 30 years. Sudan’s new authorities approved a law on Thursday ordering the Islamist leader’s National Congress Party be dissolved, its assets seized and the regime dismantled as demanded by the protest movement that led to Bashir’s fall in April.
On Friday, the NCP accused the authorities of taking a “reckless decision” in trying to confiscate its assets to tackle Sudan’s economic crisis, which it said the new government had failed to address. Confiscating its assets “is nothing more than a moral scandal, an act of intellectual bankruptcy and a total failure on the part of the illegal government,” the NCP said on its Facebook page. “The party is not bothered by any law or decision issued against it as the NCP is a strong party and its ideas will prevail.”
The authorities have also banned personalities from the former regime from taking part in political activities for 10 years. The new ruling sovereign council and cabinet led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok passed the law on Thursday, ruling that the NCP be “dissolved” and its registration “cancelled from the list of political parties in Sudan”.
‘No rule of law’
Bashir seized power on June 30, 1989 in an Islamist-backed coup that toppled the elected government of prime minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi. Hamdok said the law to dissolve the party and dismantle the regime was “not revenge” against the former rulers. “It aims to preserve the dignity of Sudanese people which was crushed by dishonest people,” he wrote on Twitter. “This law aims to recover the plundered wealth of the people.”
The Sudanese Professionals Association, the group that initially led protests against Bashir, said in a statement that the decision would help “building a democratic civilian state”. But the NCP said the protest movement was turning the country’s transition period into one where “no rule of law or equality prevails”. “The FFC (Forces of Freedom and Change) is trying to drag the country into war, chaos and instability … the law will only add to more tensions, extremism and destruction of political life in our country.”
Hardline Islamist cleric Mohamed Ali Jazuli warned that the law had potential to trigger future conflict in Sudan. “This law is part of a regional project aimed at excluding Islam from all aspects of the state … this would drag the country into a civil war,” Jazuli said in his sermon as he led the weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in the capital.
On Thursday, the sovereign council and the cabinet also formally scrapped a controversial public order law that had severely curtailed women’s rights under Bashir. Thousands of women were flogged, fined and even jailed under the law, which activists said primarily targeted women through harsh interpretations of Islamic sharia law. Activists say security forces have used the law to arrest women for attending private parties or wearing trousers. “This law is notorious for being used as a tool of exploitation, humiliation & violation of rights,” Hamdok wrote on Twitter earlier on Friday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters marched yesterday through downtown Khartoum to demand justice for those killed in demonstrations against Bashir. More than 250 people were killed and hundreds injured in the months-long protests that erupted in Dec 2018, according to umbrella protest movement Forces of Freedom and Change.
Crowds marched from a central Khartoum square to Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s offices, demanding authorities deliver justice for those killed and also find out about protesters who went missing. “Blood for blood!” chanted protesters gathered in front of Hamdok’s offices in the capital, an AFP correspondent reported.
Dozens of policemen stood guard as protesters, many whistling, clapping and ululating, belted out revolutionary slogans. “We want justice for martyrs. We are afraid that the criminals might not be judged,” said protester Nizar bin Sufian. He said protesters welcomed Thursday’s decision by the new authorities to dismantle Bashir’s regime and former ruling party. “But we have not seen any moves by the government to find those missing or to begin trials of those responsible for the killing of protesters,” bin Sufian told AFP.
Bashir and several senior members of his regime are in prison, while the veteran leader himself is on trial for alleged graft. Since August, Sudan has been ruled by a joint civilian-military sovereign council headed by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. A transitional cabinet led by Hamdok has been tasked with the day-to-day running of the country. The sovereign council is tasked with overseeing an overall transition to civilian rule as demanded by the protest movement. – AFP