Sudanese on the streets, call for new judicial appointments

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A woman waves a Sudanese national flag during a demonstration near the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum on September 12, 2019. (AFP)
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A man flashes the victory gesture while waving a Sudanese national flag during a mass demonstration near the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum on September 12, 2019, calling for the appointment of a new permanent chief of judiciary and prosecutor general. (AFP)
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Women chant slogans as they gather during a mass demonstration near the presidential palace in Sudan's capital Khartoum on September 12, 2019, calling for the appointment of a new permanent chief of judiciary and prosecutor general. (AFP)
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A Sudanese demonstrator waves his hands as he stands on the hood of a security forces' vehicle, urging others not to cross the security barrier, during a protest near the presidential palace in Sudan's capital Khartoum on September 12, 2019, calling for the appointment of a new permanent chief of judiciary and prosecutor general. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2019

Sudanese on the streets, call for new judicial appointments

  • Sudan's Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change called for a march to pressure the joint civilian-military Sovereign Council to appoint judges known for their competence as well as political impartiality
  • The Sovereign Council is expected to rule the country along with a cabinet and a legislative body for a little more than three years

CAIRO: Thousands of Sudanese rallied in the capital Khartoum on Thursday in the largest protest since the country's transitional government was announced, demanding the chief of the judiciary and general prosecutor be removed because of alleged ties to ousted autocratic former president Omar Al-Bashir.
Sudan's Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, the umbrella coalition representing different pro-democracy parties and groups, called for a "million-man march" to pressure the joint civilian-military Sovereign Council — formed last month as part of a power-sharing deal between protesters and the generals — to appoint judges known for their competence as well as political impartiality.
The generals had previously dismissed nominations put forward by pro-democracy protesters for Sudan's two top judicial posts.
"Judicial and legal reforms should be a top priority during the transitional period; however, we have seen inaction on the part of sovereign council to appoint a new head of the judiciary and a new general prosecutor," Ahmed Rabie, a leader of the Sudanese Professionals' Association, said. The group has spearheaded protests since Al-Bashir was still in power.
The Sovereign Council, comprised of five military members and six civilians, is expected to rule the country along with a cabinet and a legislative body for a little more than three years. Last week, prime minister Abdalla Hamdok, a longtime economist, announced the make-up of his cabinet after several weeks of deliberations.
The announcement of transitional state institutions came following pressure from the United States and its Arab allies amid growing concerns the political crisis could ignite a civil war.
"The Sudanese revolution does not only aim at changing a president or bringing in new ministers but it aims at restructuring the Sudanese state," said Rabie. "Hence, it is illogical to have officials belonging to the ancient regime on top of the state's civil and judicial apparatuses."
Both incumbent judiciary chief and public prosecutor were appointed by the military council, which took over the helm of state after ousting Al-Bashir in April. Under the terms of the power-sharing deal, the military council was dissolved and replaced by the Sovereign Council.
"This rally is an important step toward the restructuring of the judicial system so that we can embark on a period of transitional justice where leaders of the old regime as well as those responsible for the massacre of protesters after Bashir's ouster could be prosecuted," said Rasha Awad, editor of the online Sudanese newspaper Altaghyeer.
The power-sharing agreement capped several months of negotiations and tension between the generals and protester movement. In early June, talks were suspended after a deadly military clampdown on the protesters' main sit-in in the capital left more than a hundred killed. The attack had remained a thorny issue even after both parties resumed talks.
In Thursday's rallies, protesters waving Sudanese flags chanted: "The people want the martyr to be avenged," in reference to those killed during the crackdown. They also raised banners reading: "The appointment of new judiciary chief and public prosecutor is a revolutionary demand."
Awad noted that the generals had previously dismissed nominations put forward by pro-democracy protesters for the nation's two top judicial posts.
"These rallies are basically addressing the military members inside the sovereign council because those members do not share the same views as Sudanese revolutionaries," she said.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 19 min 13 sec ago

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLOW

  • Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.
  • Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.
  • Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.