June 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The National Congress Party (NCP) political secretary reaffirmed Tuesday the importance of the participation of the National Umma Party (NUP) leader Sadiq al-Mahdi in the national dialogue process.
Mustafa Osman Ismail who is also tasked with relations between the ruling party and the opposition party further described the detained leader “as national figure who has significant political weight”.
The opposition leader is in jail since the 17th May as he is accused by the National Intelligence and Security Services of defaming the Rapid Support Forces. Al-Mahdi accused the government militia of committing war crimes and atrocities against civilians in Darfur.
Ismail expressed hopes that al-Mahdi affairs be settled soon to allow the resumption of the national dialogue.
Government officials pointed the need to complete the investigation and legal procedures before to release him.
The opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan al-Turabi said they are undertaking contacts with the government to ensure al-Mahdi’s release.
Also, Turabi visited on Tuesday his brother-in-law who is detained at Kober prison in Khartoum, but no details filtered out from their meeting.
Sources close to the meeting said that the two leaders discussed the political dialogue and the need that the government takes serious steps to ensure public freedoms.
The NUP decided to suspend its participation in the dialogue to protest the arrest of its leader. It also accused Tuesday the government organs of issuing false statements attributed to Mahdi’s about his commitment to the political process.
Opposition officials say the arrest of al-Mahdi proves that security organs are against the political process and the decisions that president al-Bashir has taken recently ensure freedoms and create a conducive environment for the dialogue.
However, presidential assistant, Ghandour Ibrahim, said the government is committed to the political process, stressing that should not lead to chaos. Other officials on the other hand said the accusations of crimes negatively impact troop’s morale.