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SCoP criticises Sudan refusal to reduce powers of security apparatus


March 5, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Chairman of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) Omer al-Digair has vehemently criticised statements by the Deputy Chief Justice Abdel-Mageed Idriss in which he rejected the constitutional amendments aimed to curtail the large powers of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).

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SCoP leader Omer al-Digair (ST Photo)

Last month, the Sudanese presidency deposited new amendments to the 2005 transitional constitution with the parliament providing to restrict the powers of the security services and to guarantee political freedoms.

The new amendments propose that the role of the NISS be reduced to the collection of information and to not be able to detain someone without an arrest warrant issued by a judge. Also, it ends press confiscation and censorship.

Last week, Idriss told reporters that he refuses to reduce the powers of the NISS, saying the “agency is responsible for the security of the residents which makes it carry out some tasks that require these powers”.

Idriss, who spoke to reporters following his meeting with the parliamentary committee tasked with the constitutional amendments, said the detention of the politicians must be under the supervision of the judiciary.

“My own point of view is that the NISS would be useless if its role was reduced to the collection of information,” he said.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, al-Digair said the statements of Idriss prevent anyone from resorting to the judiciary to adjudicate on the dispute over the powers of the NISS.

He pointed that the objection to the reduction of the NISS powers under the pretext that the country is facing “threats and challenges” stems from a “totalitarian mentality” that limits the mission of the NISS to protect the regime and deny rights of peaceful opposition.

Al-Digair further said they don’t object to the existence of strong security services that is capable of protecting the country, but they reject the broad powers which allow them to prevent peaceful political action and violate freedoms and fundamental rights.

He said the true stability comes with the rule of law, freedoms and justice, pointing the reduction of the NISS powers to the collection of information doesn’t .

SCoP leader further pointed to examples of security agencies in democratic countries, saying they work efficiently to protect the homeland and the people without violating freedoms and denying peaceful political action.

He stressed that the NISS “enjoys absolute powers”, saying it has the right to detain anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any duration without due process.

Al-Digair pointed to the violation of fundamental rights, confiscations of newspapers, arbitrary political detentions and favouritism, saying the only thing to avoid these violations is to end the one-party regime and establish the state of law.


The political opposition leader, also, criticised the recent creation of the post of prime minister which is seen as one of the major constitutional reforms endorsed by the national dialogue conference.

Al-Digair underlined that the creation of the prime minister post wouldn’t help achieve the necessary reform, saying the upcoming government won’t bring anything new due to lack of a true will for real change.

He pointed that the participants in the government-led national dialogue said the goal behind introducing the prime minister position was to reduce the wide powers enjoyed by the presidency, noting, however “the new post carries no real powers”.

“By assigning the post to the First Vice-President, the goal was not met because the [FVP] already holds the second position in the executive body,” he said.

On Wednesday, Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party picked the First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Saleh for the post of prime minister.

The new prime minister whose mandate is to implement the outputs of national dialogue conference will lead a cabinet appointed by President Omer al-Bashir representing all the political forces involved in the process.


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