Sudan’s former leader moved to prison

Updated April 18, 2019

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The 75-year-old's whereabouts have been unknown since the military takeover last week. ─ AFP/File
The 75-year-old's whereabouts have been unknown since the military takeover last week. ─ AFP/File

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s military rulers have transferred ousted president Omar al-Bashir to prison, a family source said on Wednesday, as an array of protest groups marched through Khartoum to join a sit-in at the army complex.

Following the dramatic end to Bashir’s rule of three decades last week, he was moved late Tuesday to Kober prison in the capital, the source said without revealing his name for security reasons.

Witnesses near the prison in north Khartoum said there was a heavy deployment of soldiers and members of a paramilitary group outside.

The 75-year-old’s whereabouts have been unknown since a military takeover on Thursday, when the country’s new rulers said he was being held “in a secure place”.

Amnesty International called for Bashir to be “immediately handed over to the International Criminal Court” in The Hague where he faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity relating to the conflict in Darfur.

“His case must not be hurriedly tried in Sudan’s notoriously dysfunctional legal system. Justice must be served,” said Amnesty’s Joan Nyanyuki. Bashir’s detention has failed to pacify protesters, who launched anti-government demonstrations in December and have for days been camped out in front of Khartoum’s army headquarters.

Scores of doctors in white robes marched from Khartoum’s main hospital towards the sit-in, carrying banners and chanting: “freedom, peace, justice”. Journalists held a separate rally, along with university students and scores of women from a Facebook group who call themselves “the Information Network of the Revolution”.

Sudan’s military rulers have made some concessions, including the sacking on Tuesday of prosecutor general Omer Ahmed Mohamed, but demonstrators fear their uprising could be hijacked.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2019