Khartoum — The police on Friday has dispersed crowds in Shambat neighborhood of Khartoum North, as demonstrators gathered to demand release of political prisoners, including Umma Party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi and Ibrahim al-Sheikh, of the Sudanese Congress Party.
The police arrested 17 protestors including four daughters and a son of Sadiq al-Mahdi, Zainab, Mariam, Rabah, Um Salama and Mohamed Ahmed. They were released in the late afternoon. Mariam al-Mahdi told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they had been taken to a local police station being charged with criminal offenses for demonstrating without permission. Her father is in jail since the 17 May.
He is accused by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) of defaming the government accusing them for having foreigners employed in Rapid Support Forces who are not under control of the army, while committing crimes in Darfur and Kordofan. Al-Mahdi has insisted that the government militia is committing war crimes and atrocities against civilians. He is facing charges of defamation against the government troops and breaching public peace, punishable by death, life imprisonment and sentences ranging from a few months to several years and confiscation of money.
Sudan Tribune reports that 45 Islamic thinkers and scholars worldwide have signed a petition on Thursday urging president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir to release Al-Mahdi.
The authorities also released Munzir Abu al-Maali, a senior member of the opposition Nasserist Arab Socialist Party, and Unionist Movement leader Ahmed Khadra. Both men had been detained from their homes shortly before Friday's demonstration.