May 14, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, is scheduled to appear on Thursday before the state security prosecutor for questioning regarding the complaint filed by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) after he accused the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of committing serious abuses in Darfur.
- Head of the National Umma Party, Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (REUTERS)
The NUP distributed SMS messages and issued a statement confirming that al-Mahdi is determined to appear before the prosecutors amid expectations that a large crowd of his supporters will be present.
On Tuesday, al-Mahdi described charges of defamation and breach of security and safety filed against him as “void”, reiterating his accusations against RSF.
“I’m committed to what I said and I demand a just investigation on what took place in the respective areas”, he said.
He added that he is ready for a fair trial in which the plaintiff is not the opponent and the judge at the same time, saying he demands a just and public trial which allows for the right of defense.
The move coincided with fierce criticism in the Sudanese Parliament directed at al-Mahdi which went as far as accusing him of treason.
Even though the parliamentary session was supposed to be dedicated for deliberations on drafting a response to president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s address before the legislative body, the lawmakers spent most the time on the issue of al-Mahdi.
The speaker al-Fatih Izz al-Deen rejected a point of order made by the former chairman of the Legislative subcommittee al- Fadil Haj Suleiman, who said that discussing al-Mahdi’s case is a violation of article 34/9 of the parliament’s regulation which states that the national assembly is not to deal with any issue under investigation.
"The parliament is above any regulation and we are the ones who issued these regulations and any talk that directly affects the national security must be addressed by parliament," Izz al-Deen said.
He noted that while they respect the judicial institutions, the case of al-Mahdi did not reach a stage that prevents discussing it.
Izz al-Deen emphasized that belittling RSF could amount to treason. He praised these troops which he said have managed to deal with rebellion.
He explained that Sudanese diplomacy has been able to mobilize the support of Sudan’s friends to pre-empt a draft resolution in the UN Security Council about RSF.
The chairman of the subcommittee on security and defence, Malik Abdulla Hussein, described al-Mahdi’s statements as "betrayal" and a "blow to the nation" warning that RSF works with the army and touching it is "red line".
Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir, former parliament speaker, for his part said that stabbing the armed forces is a stab to the people, demanding that politicians stand with the nation and that there is no room for opposing the army.
Tahir said that these forces are fighting rebels whom he described as having no morals or religion or patriotism.
The former presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie said that RSF are very disciplined forces that carried out successful operations in East and North Darfur states.
He expressed regret that the public opinion has not been made aware of RSF work.
The RSF militia, which is widely known as the Janjaweed militias, were originally mobilised by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.
The militia was activated and restructured again in August last year under the command of NISS to fight rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states following joint attacks by Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.