Opposition party refuses to apologise for its stance on Sudan militia

By IAfrica
In Sudan
Jul 24th, 2014

The Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) refuses to offer any apology for the statements of its president on the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Security authorities in North and West Kordofan prevent members from engaging in political activities.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga on Wednesday, Mastour Ahmed, SCP’s Political Secretary said that the party refuses to offer any apology for the statements of its president, Ibrahim El Sheikh, on the RSF militia, organised and commanded by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

“We will not withdraw our standpoint on the atrocities committed by the RSF, as the authorities requested from El Sheikh in exchange for his and the other party members’ release. The SCP keeps to its conviction that the RSF are unconstitutional. The militia must be held accountable for the crimes they committed in Darfur and Kordofan.”

Ahmed said that the security authorities prevented party members from engaging in political activities in the North and West Kordofan States. “The authorities in En Nahud break into the party’s premises any time we organise an activity and detains the members present. They have confiscated all the party’s property, loudspeakers, furniture, and papers.”

El Sheikh was taken by the security service from his home in En Nahud, West Kordofan, on 8 June, after he had publicly denounced the widespread RSF attacks on civilians in Darfur and Kordofan. He has been charged with undermining the Constitution, a charge that can lead to the death penalty.

Prisoner of conscience

The head of the defence team for the in total 24 detained SCP members until now, Sati El Haj, told Radio Dabanga, that Ibrahim El Sheikh is a “prisoner of conscience, as he has not committed any materiel crime”. “His criticism of the RSF militia is the same Ahmed Haroun, the Governor of North Darfur expressed in February of this year.”

El Haj explained that the president of the SCP faces charges punishable with the death penalty. “We have more than once requested the prosecution to start with the trial. At the first hearing, on 12 June, the judge informed us to our surprise that the security service of West Kordofan had taken the file. It has not been returned to the court until now. These procedures are taken to silence Ibrahim El Sheikh by keeping him detained as long as possible.”

On 15 June, El Sadig El Mahdi, the president of the National Umma Party (NUP) was released after having spent almost one month in detention in Kober prison in Khartoum North. He had also publicly denounced the RSF attacks on civilians in Darfur, calling the militia unconstitutional.

Sudan’s State Minister of Information, Yasir Yousef, said at the time that El Mahdi’s release came within “legal framework”. The state media, however, reported later that El Mahdi was released after the NUP Central Commission had announced that what their president had said regarding the RSF was based on “complaints and claims, which are not necessarily all true”.

File photo: The defence team of the Sudanese Congress Party detainees (SCP)


Women protest party leaders’ detention in Sudan’s West Kordofan (17 July 2014)

Sudan frees detained Umma Party leader El Mahdi (15 June 2014)

Darfur society critical of officials praising Rapid Support Forces (24 April 2014)

Darfur conflicts displace 100,000 in one week (12 March 2014)

‘Rapid Support Forces in Darfur to fight rebels’: General (26 February 2014)

$3 million for withdrawal of North Kordofan’s Janjaweed (14 February 2014)

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