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Sudan opposition party says detained leader refused to apologise in return for release

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June 17, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Congress Party claimed that its leader Ibrahim al-Sheikh, who has been imprisoned by authorities since 8 June has refused to issue an apology for remarks he made on a government militia in exchange for his release.

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Leader of the Sudanese Congress Party Ibrahim al-Sheikh

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested al-Sheikh after speaking at a seminar in which he criticized the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and accused them of committing abuses in conflict zones. He faces charges that could hand him the death penalty if convicted.

The Congress Party said in a statement on Tuesday, that its leader received on Monday an initiative from the "The National Figures Commission" through al-Sheikh defense lawyer Sate’ al-Haj.

The commission asked that al-Sheikh defense lawyers submit plea to the attorney seeking to drop the charges based on specific merits, but the party rejected the proposal at an emergency meeting yesterday.

The party said its leader concurred with their decision and dismissed any move to have him apologise, adding that they will address no one to ask for the release of al-Sheikh and its other detainees. Instead, they will apply human rights, political and popular pressure.

"The issue of public liberties and freedom of political action and freedom of political leaders to express their opinion of their parties is an authentic right that needs no recognition from any from any party because they are protected by the constitution, if there was a regarded constitution," the statement said,

Sudanese authorities released the head of the National Umma Party (NUP) al-Sadiq al-Mahdi on Sunday, who was detained since last month on same charges of those against al-Sheikh.

The state media said the move was done after al-Mahdi’s lawyers appealed to the justice minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa agreed to use his powers under article (58) of Sudan’s penal code to stop criminal proceedings against any suspect at any point before being sentenced by a court.

It carried a statement by NUP Central Commission stating that they support the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and that what al-Mahdi mentioned regarding RSF is derived from complaints and claims "that are not necessarily all true".

(ST)

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