Bashir’s relatives protest for free expression in Sudan

Updated 12 October 2013

Bashir’s relatives protest for free expression in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Two relatives of Sudanese President Omar Bashir led an anti-government protest on Friday calling for freedom of expression and a transitional administration, an AFP reporter said.
Al-Tayeb Mustafa, Bashir’s uncle, and Amien Banani who is related to Bashir’s family by marriage, joined about 150 other people in the rally at the gates of a central Khartoum mosque.
“We want freedom of expression... and freedom of peaceful demonstration,” said a memorandum to the president read out by Banani, a former minister in Bashir’s government.
Banani now heads a small faction of the opposition Justice Party.
Mustafa is chief of the extremist Just Peace Forum party and runs Al-Intibaha, Sudan’s most popular newspaper.
After the newspaper criticized a government decision to slash fuel subsidies, state security agents in late September ordered Al-Intibaha to stop publishing. The government’s Sept. 23 cut in subsidies sent thousands of people, many of them Khartoum-area poor, onto the streets to protest as petrol prices rose more than 60 percent.
The demonstrations and their Arab Spring-inspired calls for the downfall of the regime were the worst urban unrest of Bashir’s 24-year rule. Amnesty International said security forces are believed to have killed more than 200 protesters, many of whom were shot in the head or chest.
Authorities have reported 60 to 70 deaths, and say they had to intervene when crowds turned violent, attacking petrol stations and police.
“We call for a government representing all Sudanese,” said a sign carried by the protesters outside the mosque. Police surrounded the group, preventing it from marching, but they later dispersed without incident.
Their memorandum called for the dissolution of the government which took power in a 1989 coup It proposed that the country be run by a “national presidential council” of prominent figures for 18 months until elections are held, and said all political parties should participate in drafting a new constitution for Sudan.
The memo was signed by 15 small opposition parties.


Yemen prisoner exchange talks open in Switzerland

United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths. (AP)
Updated 19 September 2020

Yemen prisoner exchange talks open in Switzerland

  • The Yemen conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and sparked what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis

GENEVA: Rival parties in Yemen’s war opened UN-sponsored talks on Friday aimed at an exchange deal for the release of more than 1,400 prisoners, the UN said.
The internationally recognized government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels agreed to exchange some 15,000 detainees as part of peace deal brokered by the UN in Sweden in 2018.
The two sides have since made sporadic prisoner swaps, but the release of 900 loyalists in exchange for 520 insurgents — if it materializes — would mark the first large-scale handover since the war erupted in 2014.
“The #Yemen Prisoners & Detainees Committee meeting started today. I am grateful to #Switzerland for hosting it & to @ICRC for co-chairing,” UN envoy Martin Griffiths tweeted, without giving an exact location for the talks.

FASTFACT

The two sides have since made sporadic prisoner swaps, but the release of 900 loyalists in exchange for 520 insurgents — if it materializes — would mark the first large-scale handover since the war erupted in 2014.

“My message to the Parties is: conclude discussions, release detainees swiftly, bring relief to thousands of Yemeni families,” he wrote.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for its part, said it was ready to help with the return of detainees to their families.
A source close to Yemen’s presidency said on Wednesday that the talks in Switzerland would “lay out the final touches” after agreement was reached with the ICRC “on all logistical arrangements.”
Gen. Nasser Mansour Hadi, brother of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, along with several politicians and journalists, would be among those released, he said.
A former senior intelligence official, the general has been held by the rebels ever since they overran Sanaa in late 2014.
The Yemen conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and sparked what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.