Khartoum — The co-deputy head of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) was detained in Khartoum on Thursday while hanging posters announcing the imminent return to Sudan of NUP Chairman El Sadig El Mahdi.
In a statement on Friday, the NUP said that Bashir Hamid was detained in El Kalakla district in southern Khartoum by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
The statement asserts that Hamid's detention is "one of the indicators of blocking the return of El Mahdi".
It added that the security authorities released Hamid late on Thursday night. He was summoned to return to the security offices on Friday morning.
The statement rejected what it called "gross violation of human rights and the targeting of the party, its leaders and cadres in the series of harassment and pressures that are still practised by the regime."
El Mahdi was abroad in a self-imposed exile until early 2017, when he returned to the Sudanese capital. He left had Sudan in August 2014 after having been detained for one month.
He was accused by the NISS of undermining the Constitution. El Mahdi had denounced the widespread attacks against civilians in Kordofan and Darfur by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by the NISS.
In April this year, following El Mahdi's election as chairman of the Sudan Call alliance, the State Security Prosecution service in Sudan instructed a complaint be filed against El Mahdi, "for dealing and coordinating with rebel armed movements to overthrow the regime."
The Sudanese Security Services Centre said the move came after the NISS submitted a petition to the State Security Prosecution against El Sadig El Mahdi and others.
The NISS was responding to threats of legal action against the alliance made by Sudan's President Omar Al Bashir since the conclusion of meetings of the Sudan Call in Paris in March.
The NISS said that the High Prosecutor General Advisor Motasim Abdallah filed charges on sabotaging of the constitutional order, staging war, calling for opposition to the public authority by violence, and spying on the country, which is punishable by death, in addition to articles 5 and 6 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
In July this year the authorities at Cairo International Airport denied El Sadig El Mahdi access to Egypt after he returned from Germany. The German government had invited the leaders of the Sudan Call, a coalition of Sudanese opposition parties and armed movements, to discuss a proposal to solve the peace talks impasse.
A meeting is scheduled between the Sudan Call alliance and the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) led by Thabo Mbeki will be held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa today to discuss the National Dialogue issue.