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Sudan frees detained student activists

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July 11, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) announced on Friday that it released three student activists after more than a month of detention without charges.

The security apparatus said those freed included Taj Elsir Jaafar (Haq Movement), Mohamed Salah (Democratic Front) and Moamar Musa Mohamed (Reform Now Party) adding that this move wa made in line with instructions of Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

Last June authorities conducted mass arrests of student opposition figures following unrest and tension at the University of Khartoum (UoK).

Their families complained that they are being tortured while in NISS custody.

During his visit to Sudan last June, the UN independent expert, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, discussed the detention of the three students with the NISS officials. However , they refused to allow him to meet them.

On Thursday, Bashir chaired the national dialogue committee known as 7+7 that is comprised of opposition parties and pro-government ones. He end affirmed that he will not back away from his promises on liberties calling it a moral and political commitment.

The Political Secretary of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Kamal Omer disclosed in an interview with Ashorooq TV on Friday that president Bashir promised yesterday to release all political prisoners.

He stressed that the meeting underscored making new efforts to bring forces which boycotted the national dialogue on board.

He noted that even though the National Umma Party (NUP) headed by al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and Reform Now Party (RNP) led by Ghazi Salah al-Din al-Attabani were absent from the 7+7 meeting, they could still return.

Opposition parties argue that the government increased its crackdown on political and media freedoms since Bashir launched the national dialogue process last January.

At a political roundtable in Khartoum last April with the participation of 83 political parties, Bashir instructed authorities in the states and localities across Sudan to enable political parties to carry out their activities inside and outside their headquarters without restrictions except those dictated by the law.

The Sudanese president also pledged to enhance press freedom so that it can play its role in the success of the national dialogue unconditionally as long they abide by the norms of the profession.

Political detainees who have not been found to be involved in criminal acts will be released, he said.

But since then, Sudanese authorities arrested al-Mahdi and the head of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) Ibrahim al-Sheikh. It also intensified its censorship of newspapers by either suspension or shutting down the entire media houses.

On Friday the Sudanese Congress Party claimed that Sudanese authorities raided their headquarters in the city of al-Nuhood in the state of West Kordofan and arrested leading figures during a rally to celebrate release of the detainees.

Sudan Tribune obtained the names of the detainees: Samia Kiir, Ali Abu-Sitta, Muatassim Yahiya Ahmed, Osama al-Dai Nur, Asim Hammad and Abdul Aziz Adam.

The party said that Kiir was re-arrested after being released from detention yesterday adding that authorities occupied their headquarters.

(ST)

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