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Sudan’s NUP denies statements attributed to its detained leader on national dialogue

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June 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has belied press reports quoting its imprisoned leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi as saying that he is committed to national dialogue despite his detention.

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The leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi (Photo: Reuters)

The NUP politburo in statement on Tuesday, said al-Mahdi is not in a position that would allow him to make statements, stressing that the party institutions are the only credible source of information conveyed from its leader.

It accused the government and its followers of promoting those statements in order to undermine the NUP stances and discredit its leader’s firm positions.

The Sudanese Lawyers’ Union (SLU) said in a press statement on Saturday that Mahdi renewed the commitment of his party to the national dialogue to settle the political crisis in Sudan.

The statement said lawyers delegation led by SLU chairman al-Tayeb Haroun, met the opposition leader on Saturday to discuss with him an initiative they launched recently aiming to achieve “national concordance”.

Al-Mahdi said his position in favor of the national dialogue is “strategic”, according to the Sudanese lawyers who vowed to work for his release to achieve the national dialogue.

Al-Mahdi was arrested on May 17, days after he was called for questioning by state prosecutors over statements he made accusing the paramilitary unit of committing abuses against civilians in Darfur and Kordofan regions. The NUP suspended its participation in the national dialogue to protest the arrest of its leader.

The NUP’s politburo statement held the government responsible for aborting the dialogue and falsely arresting al-Mahdi whom they described as the engineer and strongest supporter of the national dialogue.

The statement pointed that al-Mahdi’s arrest was motivated by political reasons not legal or criminal ones, underscoring that it was based on arbitrary interpretation of unconstitutional laws.

“All parties keen on the political solution realized that this vexatious arrest would abort the dialogue. What kind of dialogue they mean? Is it dialogue from behind bars?” it added

The politburo referred to statements made by al-Mahdi from prison in which he said that government’s aggression wouldn’t dissuade him from seeking political solution, stressing he will not deal with the situation impulsively.

“However, the aggression of some government institutions against us and procedures imposed upon us by government hawks make us review the whole situation in order to determine requirements of the political solution and ways for achieving them”, he added

The jailed leader also called upon opposition forces to form a wide alliance including all political and civil forces in order to demand allowing public freedoms.

SLOW PACE OF TRIAL

Meanwhile, al-Mahdi’s defence team has directed harsh criticism to the state security prosecution, accusing it of deliberately delaying transfer of the case to the court.

Al-Mahdi’s defence team said the prosecution did not respond to several requests they made to release their client on bail besides another request to present him to immediate trial given that he acknowledged the charges and there is no need to prolong the procedures.

The defence team stressed the prosecution insistence on prolonging investigation procedures and keeping al-Mahdi in custody “hijacks the judicial authority”

“The prosecution must immediately transfer the case to the judiciary so as not to turn the pre-trial detention into an administrative punishment”, they added

In the same context, the political secretary of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Kamal Omer Abdel-Salam, said in press statements following the meeting of his party leader, Hassan Al-Turabi, and the secretary general of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and health minister, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, that his party made several contacts with the government to convince it to use article (58) of the criminal code to prosecute al-Mahdi.

Article (58) gives the justice minister the power to stop the investigation procedures at any stage.

(ST)

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