Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Sudan military lifts state of emergency, releases prisoners

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Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has issued a decree lifting a state of emergency that he imposed after seizing control in a military coup on Oct. 25, 2021.

al-Burhan, the East African nation’s de facto head of state, also ordered the release of political prisoners.

He said it applies to all areas of Sudan and that he hoped it would further fruitful and meaningful dialogue that would achieve stability for the transitional period.

According to the Sudan Tribune, 125 people were released from custody a few hours later.

The military seized power on Oct. 25, toppling a transitional government composed of civilians and military officials.

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The new rulers declared a state of emergency that granted expanded power to security forces.

Human rights organisations said hundreds of anti-government demonstrators have been rounded up and severely mistreated in recent months.

International economic aid for the impoverished country has been largely frozen, compounding the turmoil.

UN Special Representative for Sudan Volker Perthes on Saturday called for the state of emergency to be lifted following the recent deaths of two young protesters in Khartoum.

“It is time for the violence to stop, time to end the state of emergency, time for a peaceful way out of the current crisis in Sudan,’’ he tweeted.

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Sudan was ruled with an iron fist for almost 30 years by the Islamist Omar al-Bashir.

The strongman was forced out of office in April 2019 by months of mass protests and a military coup.

The military, led by al-Burhan, and the civilian opposition then agreed on a shared transitional government to pave the way for democratic elections, but the relationship soon soured, leading to the coup last October.

Al-Burhan was supposed to have withdrawn from the transitional government by 2021 at the latest and leave the leadership of the country to civilians.

Another basis for the coup was the civilian government’s plan for extensive economic reforms that would have caused major cuts to the military.

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