Sudan’s President Al-Bashir orders release of all political prisoners

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech to the members of the parliamentary body of the ruling National Congress Party on Apr 2, 2018 in the capital Khartoum. (AFP)
Updated 10 April 2018
0

Sudan’s President Al-Bashir orders release of all political prisoners

Khartoum: Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir has ordered the release of all political prisoners held in the country, state news agency SUNA said on Tuesday.
The decision came in response to calls from political parties and groups that have participated in the country’s ongoing national dialogue to grant detainees the opportunity to engage in the political process, SUNA reported.
Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since 1989 when he came to power in an Islamist and military-backed coup, has said he will not stand in elections expected in 2020 and appointed a vice president last year for the first time.
“The release of political prisoners comes to strengthen the spirit of reconciliation, national harmony and peace created by the national dialogue” and as part of “steps to prepare a permanent constitution for the country,” SUNA said.
Since 2015 Bashir has held ongoing meetings with opposition and rebel groups under the banner of a national dialogue, in part to end longstanding conflicts in warring regions such as Darfur.
Many groups have boycotted the initiative however, demanding that Bashir first repeal what they describe as repressive security and press laws and free political detainees.
SUNA did not specify how many political prisoners the decision would affect or the names of any of those set to be released.
Last month Bashir ordered about 80 political detainees released, weeks after they were arrested amid countrywide protests over soaring food prices and ongoing austerity measures.
Opposition groups have said about 50 political detainees remain in prison, including prominent politician Mohamed Mokhtar Al-Khatib, the leader of Sudan’s communist party.


US Mideast plan will not include land transfer from Egypt’s Sinai: envoy

Updated 20 April 2019
0

US Mideast plan will not include land transfer from Egypt’s Sinai: envoy

JERUSALEM: US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan will not involve giving land from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula to the Palestinians, an American envoy said on Friday.
Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Middle East envoy, apparently sought to deny reports on social media that the long-awaited plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would involve extending Gaza into the northern Sinai along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.
“Hearing reports our plan includes the concept that we will give a portion of Sinai (which is Egypt’s) to Gaza. False!,” Greenblatt, one of the architects of the proposal, tweeted on Friday.
The American plan is expected to be unveiled once Israel’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forms a government coalition and after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in June.
Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday the plan would require compromise by all parties, a source familiar with his remarks said.
It is unclear whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians’ core demand.
The Palestinians have long sought to set up a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The last round of US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.