Sudan lawmakers postpone meeting on Bashir term limits

A Sudanese parliamentary committee has postponed a meeting on amending the country’s constitution to allow President Omar Al-Bashir to run for a new term, state media reported Saturday. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019

Sudan lawmakers postpone meeting on Bashir term limits

  • The session, set for Sunday, has been shelved for the time being, the official SUNA news agency said
  • Bashir, who is facing deadly nationwide protests against his three-decade rule, is considering running for a third term in elections scheduled for next year

KHARTOUM: A Sudanese parliamentary committee has postponed a meeting on amending the country’s constitution to allow President Omar Al-Bashir to run for a new term, state media reported Saturday.
The session, set for Sunday, has been shelved for the time being, the official SUNA news agency said, without giving a new date.
Bashir, who is facing deadly nationwide protests against his three-decade rule, is considering running for a third term in elections scheduled for next year.
But for that to happen, lawmakers must amend the country’s constitution, which currently allows presidents two five-year terms.
“The committee’s meeting has been postponed and a new date will be announced,” SUNA reported.
Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its allies have an overwhelming majority in parliament, and in August the party named the veteran leader as its candidate for the 2020 poll.
The parliamentary committee was formed in late 2018 to consider the constitutional amendments necessary to keep Bashir in power, and it was set to meet Sunday for the first time.
Bashir, 75, swept to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, but he faced his first multi-party election in 2010.
In 2015, he took 94 percent of the vote in the face of opposition boycotts. He later said he would not run for a third term.
Rights groups have said both elections lacked credibility.
Bashir has proved to be a political survivor, facing down both domestic and international challenges over the years, but since December 19 he has faced daily nationwide rallies against his rule.
Analysts say the ongoing protest movement is the biggest threat Bashir has faced since coming to power, with demonstrators calling for his resignation.
Protesters chanting “freedom, peace, justice,” have taken to the streets daily, blaming Bashir for the country’s dire economic conditions.
Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 51.
Bashir has remained defiant, saying the ballot box is the only route through which a government can be changed.


Syria Kurds hand over four Daesh-linked children to Germany

Updated 26 min 29 sec ago

Syria Kurds hand over four Daesh-linked children to Germany

  • They included a boy and two sisters who had lost both parents, and a fatherless girl infant
  • A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry confirmed the handover to staff from its consulate

SIMALKA CROSSING: The Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria on Monday handed over four children linked with the Daesh group to Germany, their first such repatriation to the European country, an official said.
“The autonomous region handed over four children from Daesh families to a delegation from Germany,” said Fanar Kaeet, a foreign affairs official with the Kurdish authorities.
They included a boy and two sisters who had lost both parents, and a fatherless girl infant who was repatriated for health reasons, Kurdish authorities said.
All are under 10 years old, they said.
A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry confirmed the handover to staff from its consulate in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan at the Simalka border crossing.
“I can confirm that four children who were in custody in northern Syria were able to leave Syria,” she said.
“The children were received on the Iraqi-Syrian border by staff of the consulate in Irbil and will be given to family members,” the spokeswoman said.
“From there, the children and their family members will, we believe, travel to Germany.”
Syria’s Kurds have spearheaded the US-backed fight against Daesh in Syria, and in March expelled the extremists from their last patch of territory in the war-torn country’s far east.
Even as they fight remaining sleeper cells, thousands of alleged Daesh fighters and family members are being held in their custody.
These include hundreds of suspected foreign fighters in their jails, and thousands of their alleged family members in overcrowded camps.
Western countries have been largely reluctant to repatriate their nationals.
But France and Belgium have brought a handful of orphans home, while the United States last year repatriated a woman with her four children.
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo have repatriated dozens of women and children.
Daesh overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” there, but offensives in both countries have seen them lose that territory.
A dozen children of alleged jihadist fighters have been repatriated from Iraq to Germany since March.