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Sudan’s parliament cuts state of emergency to 6 months

National Assembly building (File photo Getty)
March 11, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Legislature including the upper and lower chambers (National Assembly and the Council of States) on Monday has approved a six-month state of emergency instead of one year as decreed by President Omer al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir on 22 February declared a one-year state of emergency and dissolved the federal and states governments appointing 18 militaries as governors of the states.

On March 6, the National Legislature formed a committee to consider the emergency order imposed by President al-Bashir.

Speaking at the parliament on Monday, the head of the committee Ahmed al-Tigani said: “the committee recommends cutting the state of emergency to six months and the presidential decree shall be considered in effect since its announcement”.

Following the lawmakers vote on the presidential decree on Monday, the speaker of the parliament Ibrahim Ahmed Omer announced that “a six-month state of emergency has been approved by a majority”.

STRONG OPPOSITION

Several MP voiced their rejection of the exceptional measures saying the imposition of the state of emergency should not be used to quell peaceful protests and called for a political solution.

MP Kamal Omer of the Popular Congress Party said that his party completely rejects the declaration of the state of emergency, underscoring that the merits invoked by the presidency does not justify its impositions and clearly violate the constitution.

"There is no reason to impose the state of emergency. There is a political problem and demonstrations and protests."

"We should not deal emotionally with the President of the Republic," he told deputies. "We must return the state of emergency decree and reject it."

Also, the head of the Change Now Bloc in the National Assembly, Abu al-Qasim Burtem, criticized the "violation of the sanctity of houses" and the flogging against girls under the Emergency Law.

He said these measures contradicted what President al-Bashir announced in his speech about the imposition of the state of emergency, as he indicated that the emergency was needed to deal with the practices harmful to the economy and corruption and his call for dialogue.

On the other hand, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), an umbrella organization spearheading the protests that have been ongoing since three months has denounced the parliament’s decision to approve the state of emergency.

“The repressive regime has violated all humanitarian laws and international norms by declaring the unconstitutional emergency law” the SPA tweeted on Monday.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, with demonstrators holding nationwide rallies calling on President al-Bashir to resign.

The government said over 33 people have died in the violence, while other credible reports including from Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have been killed.

Dozens of protesters have been tried under the emergency law including the deputy chairman of the National Umma Party (NUP) Mariam al-Mahdi who was sentenced to one week in prison.

Also, nine young women have been sentenced to one month in prison and 20 lashes for their participation in anti-government protests.

(ST)