June 13, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese police on Friday violently dispersed crowds at al-Rabta square in Khartoum’s Shambat neighbourhood, as dozens of activists gathered to demand the release of political prisoners.
- FILE - Meriam Al-Mahdi is the daughter of the National Umma Party leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (AFP)
Several members of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) including Abdel-Rahman al-Ghali, al-Wathig al-Birair, Abdel-Rahman al-Khalifa Sharif, Hamid Mortada Kamal, and al-Sadiq Osman were arrested and being taken to Al-Safia police station.
NUP leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi’s four daughters, Zainab, Meriam, Rabah, and Um Salama, along with his son, Mohamed Ahmed, were also among those detained.
Later NUP deputy chairman Fadalla Burma Nasir that all those detained were later released after making a written pledge.
The protest was organised by the advocacy group established to support the cause of those who were killed during the protests which took place in September, 2013.
Mariam al-Mahdi, who is also the NUP’s communication coordinator, told Turkish Anadolu Agency (AA) that she and her two sisters had been taken to a local police station where they were charged with having committed criminal offenses.
"We are now awaiting the investigation," she said.
The NUP supporters have continued to protest every Friday since the arrest of al-Mahdi, albeit in small numbers.
Al-Mahdi was jailed on 17 May after the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) accused him of defaming the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Al-Mahdi accused the government militia of committing war crimes and atrocities against civilians in Darfur.
He is facing charges of defamation against the government troops, breach of public peace. Those charges are punishable by death, life imprisonment and sentences ranging from a few months to several years and confiscation of money.
45 Islamic thinkers and scholars worldwide have signed a petition on Thursday urging president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir to release al-Mahdi.
Meanwhile, NISS arrested the member of the leadership office of the Arab Nasserite Party (ANP), Munzir Abu Al-Ma’ali, and the leading figure at the Broad National Front (BNF), Ahmed Hadra, from their houses on Friday.