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Sudan opposition party calls for detained leader’s unconditional release

June 22, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) rejected to apologise about criticising crimes committed by a government militia on civilians and called to release its leadership without conditions.

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Leader of the Sudanese Congress Party Ibrahim al-Sheikh

Sudanese authorities arrested the SCP leader Ibrahim al-Sheikh on 8 June in Al-Nuhud town in West Kordofan state after publicly denouncing the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and accused its fighters of committing abuses in Darfur. He faces charges that could hand him the death penalty if convicted.

The leaders of the opposition party held Tuesday a press conference in Khartoum calling to free the party’s members, including its chairman detained seven weeks ago.

SCP’s deputy chairman, Fatih Elsayed, told reporters on Tuesday that his party “rejected all the bargains” proposed by the authorities in North and West Kordofan and refused to make any written apology before to release them.

Political secretary Mastour Adam disclosed that North Darfur governor Ahmed Haroun dispatched a delegation to meet the party’s leader al-Sheikh in his jail and urged him to apologise for the armed forces in order to prepare his release, adding that the latter refused and maintained his position.

Haroun last February ordered the RSF militiamen to evacuate North Kordofan after the killing of a civilian in the state capital El-Obeid.

Adam also said that other leadership members detained in West Kordofan among them Sidiq Nourain, Samia Kier and Mahdi Sanousi also clung to their positions.

On 17 June the SCP said in a statement that its leader had been approached to apologise but he refused.

“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,” said the SCP.

Sudanese authorities released the head of the National Umma Party (NUP), al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, on 15 June following his month-long detention on the same charges as al-Sheikh.

The state media said the move was done after al-Mahdi’s lawyers appealed to the justice minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa who 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.

The official news agency SUNA 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)