US says Sudan new regime can exit terror list if progress made

Protesters have remained on the street, calling on the military council to step aside. (Reuters)
Updated 17 April 2019
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US says Sudan new regime can exit terror list if progress made

  • Al-Arabiya sources: Omar Al-Bashir has been moved to Kober prison in Khartoum
  • Protesters have remained on the street, calling on the military council to step aside

WASHINGTON: The United States is willing to remove Sudan from its blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism if its new military leaders take tangible steps, a US official said Tuesday.
Sudanese officials have for years sought to get off the list, engaging in inconclusive talks with the United States.
A State Department official said that Washington had renewed its willingness to consider a delisting during meetings with the military rulers who last week ousted veteran leader Omar Al-Bashir in the wake of months of street protests.

Al-Bashir has been moved to Kober prison in Khartoum, Al-Arabiya TV has reported, quoting sources.
A way to rescind the designation “may be available if there is a fundamental change in the leadership and policies and if the Transitional Military Council is not supporting acts of international terrorism and provides assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
But the official said that the US was not considering delisting Sudan “at this time.”
The comments come two days after the top US diplomat in Khartoum, Charge d’Affaires Steven Koutsis, met with the deputy head of the military council, Mohammad Hamdan Daglo.
The US official said that the United States was also encouraging the military council to “move quickly” to include civilians in the interim government and hold elections.
Protesters have remained on the street, calling on the military council to step aside.
The US had turbulent relations with Sudan during Bashir’s three decades in power, in which he allied himself with Islamists, was accused of plotting genocide in the Darfur region and during the 1990s gave refuge to Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.
But in his later years, Bashir sought smoother ties with the United States and especially wanted the removal of the terror label, which had severely deterred foreign investors.


Verdict expected in mass Turkey trial of ‘coup ringleaders’

Updated 8 min 28 sec ago
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Verdict expected in mass Turkey trial of ‘coup ringleaders’

  • The suspects also each face 55,880 years in jail on the charge of injuring 2,558 civilians and 177 security personnel
  • Nearly 290 coup-linked court cases have been launched, 261 of which ended with 3,239 defendants convicted

ANKARA: A Turkish court is set to hand down verdicts Thursday to more than 220 suspects in one of the biggest trials relating to the 2016 failed overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The trial of 224 suspects including more than two dozen former generals began in May 2017 in the country's largest courtroom inside a prison complex in Sincan, Ankara.
The space was purpose-built to hear coup-related trials and has room for 1,558 people.
Among the suspects is US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accuses of ordering the attempted putsch which left hundreds dead and thousands more injured.
Gulen strongly denies the claims. Turkey has failed to secure his extradition.
The charges against the main suspects include "violating the constitution", "using coercion and violence in an attempt to overthrow" parliament and the Turkish government, "martyring 250 citizens" and "attempting to kill 2,735 citizens".
The prosecutor last month sought 252 aggravated - without parole - life sentences against nearly 40 suspects, local media reported. Such sentences carry harsher prison conditions.
The suspects also each face 55,880 years in jail on the charge of injuring 2,558 civilians and 177 security personnel, state news agency Anadolu reported.
Since July 2016, tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to the coup under a two-year state of emergency which ended last year.
But nationwide raids by police have continued and there are almost daily reports of public prosecutors issuing detention warrants for suspects over Gulen ties.
Nearly 290 coup-linked court cases have been launched, 261 of which ended with 3,239 defendants convicted, according to justice ministry figures.
Twenty-six generals are among those on trial, including former air force chief Akin Ozturk and Mehmet Disli, the brother of former ruling party lawmaker Saban Disli, who since September has served as Turkey's ambassador to the Netherlands.
Another suspect is colonel Ali Yazici, Erdogan's former military aide, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Levent Turkkan, who was the aide to then Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar. Akar was appointed defence minister in July 2018.
Of the suspects, 176 are in jail while 35 have been freed pending trial and 13 suspects including Gulen are still sought for arrest, according to Anadolu.
The prosecutor in May requested 12 unnamed suspects be acquitted and that the case of the 13 fugitives be separated from the main coup ringleaders' trial.
Dozens of those on trial are accused of being members of the "Peace At Home Council", the name the plotters apparently gave themselves on the night of the coup attempt.
The failed overthrow left 248 people dead, according to the Turkish presidency, not including 24 coup-plotters killed on the night.
Last month during a hearing, Ozturk told the court that claims he was a member of the council and a senior figure in the Gulen movement were "lies".
"For 34 months, I have tried to prove my innocence," Ozturk said. Many of the suspects during the two years of hearings have denied any links to Gulen or the coup.