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Supporters of Sudan’s ex-spy chief protest in his hometown


April 22, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Hundreds of Sudanese people engaged in demonstrations in the town of Merowe on Sunday protesting the prolonged detention of the ex-spy chief and other five members of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

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NISS chief Salah Gosh (Reuters)

Authorities announced last November that they had arrested 13 suspects, including the former director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Salah Gosh and Brigadier General Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Galil from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), on suspicion of standing behind a coup attempt.

Earlier this month, a military court sentenced nine army officers, including Brigadier General Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Galil, to prison terms of up to five years and dismissed them from service; however, President Bashir issued a decree commuting the sentences.

Osama Tawfig, member of the mediation team between the government and Sa’ihoon group, said that the presidential pardon extends to the remaining detainees, including the seven NISS officers who are reportedly just being tried and the other six civilians, adding that their release is a matter of time.

Hundreds of citizens rallied in Merowe Town, about 350 km north of the capital Khartoum, to denounce his prolonged detention holding banners saying "Free Gosh".

Merowe is the hometown of Salah Gosh where he ran for elections in 2010 and won a seat in the parliament.

Gosh’s arrest marked the downfall of the once powerful spy chief who is better known for his deep cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism following September 2001 attacks in Washington and New York.

He was surprisingly dismissed from his position in 2009 before being appointed as a presidential adviser for security.

In 2011 he was abruptly sacked by President Bashir from the position following an imbroglio between him and the powerful presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie over dialogue with opposition parties. He was later stripped of his position within the NCP and only maintained his seat in the parliament.

Eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune that protesters which roamed the city of Meroe were attacked by police forces who used tear gas to disperse them, adding that 5 people were arrested but later released.

Activists said that protests would continue until Gosh is released and being allowed to resume his medical treatment as well as his work as an MP.

However, the media spokesperson for the opposition alliance, Kamal Omer Abdel-Salam, questioned the credibility of the protests calling them "A play poorly directed" by the government in order to prepare the public opinion for the release of Gosh.

He said "Claims of an alleged coup are nothing but a poor play that must end as quickly as possible in order to focus on a comprehensive solution for the Sudanese crisis".

In a related issue, the Sa’ihoon Group also intends to organise a protest at the headquarters of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), to demand the release of Youssef Libis, who has been accused of participating in a coup attempt in 2003.

Earlier this month, authorities released five of the accused in connection with the same coup after serving 10 years in jail.

Sudan’s current vice-president Al-Haj Adam was the most prominent figure accused in connection with that coup attempt. At the time he was fervent supporter of PCP leader Hassan Al-Turabi but later he rallied the ruling party.

The Sa’ihoon group, which means ‘God-seeking wanderers’ in Arabic, is a loose association of committed Islamists and former Popular Defense Forces (PDF) combatants.

They staged a demonstration in Khartoum last Tuesday calling for the release of all those held over the failed coup plot. Several officials rushed to the scene to calm the protestors and inform them that the release of the officers is imminent.


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  • 22 April 2013 07:10, by trinitri

    People against Bashir’s normal manipulations...

    repondre message

  • 22 April 2013 10:13, by Wunditda

    All the prisoners were pardoned and released, why is Gosh and former NISS officers kept in Jail for so long? Please Bashir— keep your promise and be transparent. Don’t let the dirty "Nafia" drifty you.

    repondre message

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