Home | News    Thursday 4 March 2010

Sudan radio prevents candidate from addressing Bashir’s ICC warrant

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March 3, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese state radio blocked the leader of the Umma Party and one of twelve runners in the presidential race from broadcasting his speech over a number of items that it labeled as “inciting prejudices and hatred against the state”.

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The twenty minutes pre-recorded audio message was to be broadcasted on radio as part of rules allowing presidential candidates to utilize the state media to deliver electoral campaign programs. Sudanese opposition parties however have said that time is unevenly distributed and leaning sharply in favor of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

The Umma party issued a statement saying that the radio director called them on Wednesday afternoon to express reservations regarding portions mentioned by the former prime minister Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi in his statement.

Among the twenty objectionable items is description of government officials as ‘Inqazists’ [Salvationists] in reference to the 1989 coup named at the time as the National Salvation Revolution.

The officials at the radio opposed a reference made to the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir as a “head of state wanted internationally” by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for responsibility on war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.

The former prime minister’s also spoke on the summary executions that took place since the 1989 coup against military officials, political opposition and individuals accused of trading in hard currency in the early 90’s.

Al-Mahdi also accused the NCP of creating an atmosphere making the secession choice in the South Sudan 2011 referendum as “inevitable”.

The Umma party statement said they attempted to dispute the assessment made with the radio top officials with no success asserting that Al-Mahdi’s criticism “was objective and not personal”.

“The NCP presidential candidate and its leaders threw competing parties with baseless allegations that were carried by state media with all humility and cursed at the democratic government with constitutional legitimacy [pre-1989 government led by Al-Mahdi”.

“They [NCP] said that their competitors are receiving funds from [Western] embassies and supplied no evidence for their unfounded allegations while the Imam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi did not throw baseless accusations since the military officers were already executed and he said that their execution was not fair, and the issue of separation being inevitable because of Inqaz policies…became essentially known in the nation”.

“The issue of the head of state being wanted internationally is an info that requires no proof since he is being sought whether we like it or not and the Ingazists themselves are talking about Ingaz…disputing the term is a pointless one in favor of the NCP”.

The statement said that “it became clear” that the purpose is to “muzzle” Al-Mahdi and threatened this incident to the National elections Committee (NEC) and until then they will cease any dealings with the state radio unless they receive a formal apology.

Sudanese opposition parties have complained about the credibility of the National Elections Committee NEC and restrictions imposed on political associations and gathering by the authorities. Furthermore, the political parties contest that they are not treated fairly in comparison to the NCP candidates.

The Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) presidential candidate Yasir Arman has boycotted a recording at the state media for what he described as bias and control by the NCP over coverage of their activities.

Yesterday the opposition parties issued a joint statement announcing their withdrawal from the Joint Media Council for Elections saying they were not consulted in its formation and that it does not have fair representation.

The statement said that they have submitted their recommendations on the improving its work but were ignored by the NEC prompting their decision.

A Sudanese journalist in Khartoum who is following the elections closely told Sudan Tribune that it is to be expected that the state media will not broadcast a number of sensitive topics that may hurt NCP stakes in the elections.

“They cannot allow anyone to come on TV and say for example that Bashir cannot travel freely or speak of massive tortures and executions that took place in the hands of the very people running in today’s elections” the journalist said.

“The NCP wants to shift people’s attention away from the widespread corruption led by its figures since they came to power to how they extracted oils, stopped rationing, built roads and tall buildings” he added.

He further said that the government recognizes the “bad deeds” they have done to its people but is attempting “to erase it from people’s memories”.

The NEC has urged political parties to refrain from tribalism and disseminating messages that fuel violence during the process.

Yesterday Human Rights Watch (HRW) sent a letter to the European Union (EU) urging its electoral observes heading to Sudan to “look at entire human rights situation and how it is affecting the elections environment”.

“Authorities harassed, assaulted, and arbitrarily arrested political party observers and human rights activists, including Darfuri students who have spoken out about elections and other sensitive topics such as the role of international justice in Darfur. Southern Sudanese authorities were also responsible for human rights violations, arbitrarily arresting and detaining members of the northern ruling National Congress Party and political parties seen to be in alliance with it”.

The letter also highlighted the ICC’s outstanding warrant against Bashir arguing that the EU should refrain from direct contact with him in view of the pending arrest warrant.

“Al-Bashir is a wanted man who needs to answer to charges of heinous crimes at the ICC….EU silence on this issue risks tacitly endorsing Khartoum’s total obstruction of justice for atrocities against Darfuris”.

Most candidates has avoided touching on this sensitive topic during their elections campaign which observers say is due to a fear of retaliation from authorities or political considerations.

In his banned message Al-Mahdi suggested that electing him will improve relations with the international community contrary to a government under Bashir indicted by the ICC.

“We can deal with the international community because we are not or accused or followed or criminals who committed crimes against anyone or shed anyone’s blood…..so that we can engage with the international community and ask the international community to forgive Sudan’s debt which now stands at 34 billion dollars” he said.

The legislative, regional and presidential elections on April 11 will be Sudan’s first since Mahdi was elected. Under electoral commission rules, the candidates are allowed an equal amount of airtime on national radio and television.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 4 March 2010 07:12, by Critic_Ngueny

    Dear Murderers from the North,

    Enough is enough otherwise.This is not the right time for dictatorship please.We have come to the world of democracy;where by everybody is free to say what she or he wants to.

    Warning to those who normally talk against well known community of Dinka Bor and Bhar el gezal.I have tried to turn deaf ears to your day today nonsenses but you don’t want to change.

    Critic_Ngueny from Bor town

    repondre message

    • 4 March 2010 10:47, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

      It doesn’t matter to prevent candidate from addressing Bashir’s ICC warrant of arrest. What matters a lot is from the International Committee whether to forgive him or to indict him according to the rules of justice. You are useless to condemn people who talk about the arrest warrant of Bashir.

      repondre message

      • 4 March 2010 14:23, by kuur Deng

        I think Sadix El Mahemmedi was just wipping and try to create attention to their fellow Musalams so that he can gain votes likewise Bshir desciples were controlling him not to touch their criminals act they did in the past. But today the clock tip it right way to exactly time.No way that Sudan will be united again NEVER and ever.

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    • 5 March 2010 18:50, by Jordan Agu’moi

      The truth must be spoken and the truth will save you. The truth about the arest warrant of Omer Hassan must be spoken because it wasn’t some one who annount it was the ICC Judges (okampo) blaim him on this issue.

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  • 4 March 2010 07:26, by murlescrewed

    This is just a tip of the iceberg. Al-Bashir and his cronies will go to great length to ensure that they dominate media exposure and if that fails to do the trick, they will still election in the most primitive way possible. I am sure they are studying how the Iranian election was stolen and will likely apply similar modi operandi to April elections. Let’s wait and see.

    The question is whether the northern populace has the stomach to fight for the votes should they be stolen. If Al-Bashir is getting less than 10% in polls, how in the world is he likely to be even viable candidate in Sudan?

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    • 4 March 2010 14:36, by Kuany Dak

      Dear,

      Bashire is undemocratic and must not elect to presidency office by the people. Media must be free and no biases should be intertained. one thing Bashir and NCP must know is that they have their president indicted by ICC. Second, corruption of oil revenues and judiciary infringment by security intelligensia.

      Thank you,
      Kuany Dak

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      • 4 March 2010 15:01, by Kon Paul Awenchol

        Dear Bashir your fugitive rule in Sudan has full of blood but the role of laws that was brought by the SPLM in Sudan since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement was not just a peace without implementation as you put it.intimidation can not go with democratic transformation but, put it in your mind that,politic is the cement that hold the diverse community and their goal to leave together not to build the tribal division that has cause alots of tribal wars in Sudan.what politication are you following since your coup de etat of 1989? Sadiq can not be stop from the message that he want to delivered,for how long should we keep the incumbent president who doesn’t follow Sudan affairs in foreign policies.confrontations are not best for democratic state,stop the fucken radio.

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  • 4 March 2010 15:41, by Time1

    Opposition parties have to be reasonable and careful, they should not use freedom of speech to insult or aggrevaite other opponents, they have to abide by the code of conduct for the elections. Al mahdi is really not a good candidate for Sudan at all.

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    • 4 March 2010 16:43, by Manyok Manyuon

      dear tim 1
      democracy is about self expression and freedom of speech,if any one knows something that cannot qualifiied our candidates who are contasting for presidency of sudan it has to be told to people.
      Al-Mahdi is very correct because Bashier is a wanted element by ICC,there is no reason that should make the people of sudan vote for president of crime.
      I support your word mr Al-Mahdi but I dont vote for you because you have also participate in denying the right of southerners.
      the BLESS YASIR ARMAN IS THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF SUDAN FOR SPLM VISSION.

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      • 4 March 2010 18:08, by Time1

        manyok

        Freedom of expression is not = violation of other peoples rights, when you violate other peoples right buy insulting them in public and lebelling false accusation then you have violated thier human rights and freedom of expression. we want to see freedom allover sudan, but if al mahdi is using freedom of speech to insult others then it is his own fault that he is violating the code of conduct for elections.

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