Sudan opens Darfur crimes probe against Bashir regime figures

Sudanese civilians wave their national flag as they gather at the freedom square during the first anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir, in Khartoum, Sudan December 19, 2019. (Reuters)
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Updated 22 December 2019

Sudan opens Darfur crimes probe against Bashir regime figures

  • The investigation focuses on "cases against former regime leaders"
  • Darfur fighting broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir

KHARTOUM: Sudan said Sunday it had opened an investigation into crimes committed in the Darfur region by members of the regime of ousted president Omar Al-Bashir.
Prosecutor general Tagelsir Al-Heber said "we started an investigation about the crimes that have been committed in Darfur from 2003", speaking on his arrival in Khartoum from a visit to the United Arab Emirates.
The investigation - the first launched since Bashir was ousted by the army in April amid mass protests after 30 years in power - focuses on "cases against former regime leaders", Heber said without giving names.
Bashir himself, who is behind bars for corruption and awaiting trial on other charges, is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his role in the bloody conflict.
The ICC issued warrants for Bashir's arrest in 2009 and 2010 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the conflict that left around 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the United Nations.
The Darfur fighting broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government, which they accused of marginalising the region.
Human rights groups say Khartoum targeted suspected pro-rebel ethnic groups with a scorched earth policy, raping, killing, looting and burning villages.
Despite numerous calls for his extradition, the ex-dictator has not been sent to The Hague, the seat of the ICC.
Brought to power by a 1989 coup, Bashir was deposed on April 11 by the army, after months of a mass protest movement against his regime that left dozens dead.
Following a deal reached in August between the military and protesters, Sudan is now led by a transitional government tasked with paving the way for civilian rule.
The investigation was announced on Sunday as the new government has vowed to establish peace in the country's conflict-hit regions, including Darfur.
On December 14, Bashir was sentenced by a court in Khartoum to two years' detention in a correctional centre for corruption in the first of several cases against him.
Bashir is also being investigated for his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power.
On Sunday, Heber also said that proceedings had been launched against Salah Gosh, former intelligence chief under Bashir.
"There four cases against Salah Gosh and we started a procedure to bring him (back to Sudan) by Interpol."
Gosh, head of the feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), resigned in April two days after the ouster of Bashir, and is now outside of Sudan.


Yoga can help corona patients breathe easy, says Egyptian expert

Updated 12 min 52 sec ago

Yoga can help corona patients breathe easy, says Egyptian expert

  • "Yoga can actually help to avoid injury and to stay stable in every position"

CAIRO: It is well documented that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can have severe effects on the respiratory system, causing difficulty in breathing as well as chest pains.

With no specific cure discovered yet, it has been suggested that yoga techniques can help breathe easy.

According to yoga experts, breathing is the most important part of yoga.

“When it comes to a productive yoga routine, settling your mind, relaxing, centering yourself, and breathing are the most important steps to master," Egyptian yoga instructor Rana Moustafa told Arab News.

Pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro, Nobel Prize winner in Physiology in 1998, and Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology in the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote an article recently explaining how breathing properly can help to fight COVID-19

"Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It’s not just something you do in yoga class; breathing this way actually provides a powerful medical benefit that can help the body fight viral infections.

"The reason is that your nasal cavities produce the molecule, nitric oxide, which chemists abbreviate as NO. It increases blood flow through the lungs and boosts oxygen levels in the blood. Breathing in through the nose delivers NO directly into the lungs where it helps fight coronavirus infection by blocking the replication of virus in the lungs. The higher oxygen saturation of the blood can make one feel more refreshed and provide greater endurance," he wrote.

Rana explained that deep breathing "lowers stress levels by decreasing heart rate. When you breathe correctly, it redirects the flow of energy within your body, and also boosts your immunity, and improves both lung function and respiratory endurance."

"The things that happen when you are stressed, such as increasing heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax the whole body," the Egyptian yoga instructor emphasized.

"The most beautiful thing about yoga is that it’s available to anyone and everyone. Yoga is for any age and fitness level. The poses can be easily modified for different skill levels or if someone has an injury or condition. Not only that, but there are several types of yoga to choose from," said Rana.

"Yoga can actually help to avoid injury and to stay stable in every position."