SUDAN (OBSERVATORY) – President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has ordered the release of all political detainees in the country, the state news agency SUNA reported on Tuesday.
The agency said the decision was “in response to appeals from parties and forces of national dialogue” to give detainees an opportunity to participate in the political process in the country.File Toronto Star
Bashir has ruled Sudan since 1989 when he came to power in a coup backed by Islamists and the military. Bashir said he would not run in elections expected in 2020 and was first appointed prime minister last year.
“The release of political prisoners comes to strengthen the spirit of reconciliation, national harmony and peace created by the national dialogue, both political and social, to succeed and create a positive atmosphere in the national arena, which opens the door to the participation of all political forces in the consultation on national issues and the requirements of the next phase and steps to prepare a permanent constitution For the country.”
Bashir holds ongoing meetings with opposition groups and rebels since 2015 under the slogan of national dialogue, with the aim of ending long-running conflicts in areas such as Darfur.
But many groups boycotted the initiative, calling on Bashir to revoke what she calls repressive laws in the areas of security and the press and the release of political prisoners.
The agency did not specify the number of political detainees to be included in the decision or the names of those who would be released.
Bashir issued a decision last month to release about 80 political prisoners, weeks after they were arrested during protests over the country’s high food prices and the continuation of austerity measures.
Opposition groups say about 50 political prisoners are still being held.