Home | News    Sunday 3 August 2003 (Date first published: 3 August 2003).

Sudan releases 32 prisoners

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KHARTOUM, Sudan, Aug 03, 2003 (AP) — The Sudanese government has released 32 political prisoners, according to a government statement Sunday.

The statement did not say when the prisoners were released or why. But the head of the Sudan’s lawyers’ syndicate Fathi Khalil was quoted by al-Adwa newspaper Sunday as saying the release came as part of government attempts to rally opposition to a peace plan mediators have proposed to end Sudan’s 20-year civil war.

The opposition Popular National Congress announced Saturday that 13 of its members were released Friday. The party members are believed to be among the 32. Popular National Congress chief Hassan Turabi, though, remained under house arrest.

Turabi, who was President Omar el-Bashir’s mentor before the two had a falling out in 1999, was first detained in February 2001, after announcing his party had signed its own peace deal with rebels who fighting for greater autonomy for the largely animist and Christian south.

The Popular National Congress announced in a statement Saturday that a consensus on the peace proposal is impossible unless el-Bashir releases all political opponents and abolishes the state of emergency except in war zones.

Officials in northern Sudan say the mediators’ proposals for ending the north-south war would mean the partition of the country and a retreat on Islamic law. El-Bashir has called on the mediators to draft a new peace plan.

Since Sudan’s war broke out in 1983, an estimated 2 million people have died, mainly through war-induced famine and disease.

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