26 March 2019

Sudan: Politicians and Lawyers Appeal Against Sudan's Emergency Orders

Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

Khartoum / ED Daein / Omdurman — Party leaders and human rights activists have appealed against the constitutionality of the Emergency and Public Safety Act of 1997, and the presidential Emergency Orders 1 and 2 that have been established in accordance with the ongoing demonstrations in the country.

Members of the Arab Socialist Baath Party and activists including Rabah El Sadig, Abeer Abdallah and Marwa Kamal, filed an appeal at the Constitutional Court against the President and the Government of Sudan. They are working with a team of eight lawyers: Nabil Adib, Omar El Faroug, Tijani El Karib, Jalal El Sayed, Abdulgadir Hamza, Ali Gayloub, Saati El Haj and Wajdi Saleh.

The merits of the appeal include nine facts to substantiate it, in which they refute the unconstitutionality of Emergency Orders 1 and 2 that have been issued by the president of Sudan in an attempt to curb the continuation of the protests against his government. The orders granted more powers to security and paramilitary forces.

The new appeal against the law and the two orders demands the repeal of articles 4, 5 and 8 of the Emergency Law and the annulment of Emergency Orders 1 and 2. The first order delegates more authorities to the regular forces.

The second order which was also issued on February 25 under the new State of Emergency, prohibits blocking public roads and obstructing the movement of citizens and means of transport. Any person who violates the provisions of this order faces imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, and a fine.

Emergency Orders 3 and 4 regulate the handling of foreign exchange and the sale and distribution of fuel and subsidised goods respectively. Most recently, the Emergency Court in the state capital of East Darfur sentenced medical engineer Marwan Ismail to a fine of SDG75,000 ($1,580*) on Sunday, for dealing with foreign currency. He was arrested by the security service a week ago and accused of violating Emergency Order 3.

In addition to any penalty provided in any relevant laws, anyone who violates the provisions of the emergency orders shall be punished with imprisonment, confiscation of the quantities that violate this order, confiscation of the means of transport, and suspension or withdrawal of the license or power of attorney.

'Unconstitutional'

Defence lawyers have criticised the Emergency Courts that have been established under the State of Emergency because they are set-up to violate the constitutional rights of people to participate in demonstrations.

According to latest reports to reach Radio Dabanga, on Sunday, the Emergency Court of Omdurman sentenced a number of demonstrators to a six-month prison and a fine of between SDG1,000 and SDG5,000 ($20-$100).

"These courts are unconstitutional because the declaration of a State of Emergency, which created these courts, violated the constitution in Articles 210 and 211," Hadra said. 210 and 211 restrict the country in declaring a State of Emergency, except on the condition the country passes through an exceptional state that leads to instability, war, an invasion into the country, or natural disasters.

* As effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the Market Makers Mechanism-determined daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)

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