‘Arrest Sadig El Mahdi purely political’: Ansar Affairs Association
The Ansar Affairs Association, the body of followers of Imam Sadig El Mahdi, has mobilised its supporters in Sudan, and told them to be prepared for peaceful protesting the arrest of the imam and leader of the National Umma Party (NUP). El Mahdi was arrested on Saturday evening by the Sudanese security service, and detained in Khartoum North’s Kober prison.
The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) had accused the NUP leader of “disrespecting the prestige of the state, discrediting the regular armed forces, inciting the international community against Sudan”, and the spreading of false news, “causing unrest among the regular troops, and breaching public peace”.
El Mahdi had strongly denounced the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by the NISS, and accused the militias of committing war crimes in Darfur, recruiting non-Sudanese nationals, and operating beyond the scope of the regular armed troops.
In an interview with Radio Dabanga on Wednesday, Abdel Mahmoud Abo, the secretary-general of the Ansar Affairs Association, described the arrest of the NUP leader as “purely political”. “The legal aspect is exploited to keep him detained as long as possible.”
According to Abo, “influential government bodies affected by El Mahdi’s approach to achieve a peaceful transition by democratic means are behind the arrest.” “The arrest was also intended to silence the voice of truth by putting the imam behind bars in this critical phase Sudan is going through.”
The secretary-general stressed that “the Association has sent messages to the Ansar and democracy loving people in all parts of Sudan to prepare for supporting and protecting the imam by all lawful means. We intend to use all our constitutional rights by pressuring the regime to release Imam Sadig El Mahdi, and abolish the freedoms restricting laws of the country. We will continuously be organising demonstrations, sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience to peacefully achieve a democratic transformation in Sudan.
The defence team of El Mahdi has stated that the intimidation by RSF commanders against the detained NUP leader negatively affects the course of justice. The spokesman for the defence, lawyer Ali Giloub said in a statement on Wednesday that the threats by RSF field commander, Brig. Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, uttered during a press conference some days ago are negatively affecting the El Mahdi’s right to have a fair trial. “What Hemeti said was provocative and creates an aggressive atmosphere”.
Giloub called for the immediate release of Sadig El Mahdi, “now the investigation has been completed”.”
RSF field commander, Brig. Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ had last week welcomed the three RSF brigades stationed around Khartoum. In a press conference, he warned those “who criticise us. They will meet our bullets.”
File photo: Imam Sadig el Mahdi amidst his Ansar in Omdurman (Namaa Faisal)
Press ‘warned’ in Sudan (21 May 2014)
Detained El Mahdi warns of unrest in Sudan (19 May 2014)