Families seek justice for Sudan’s slain anti-Bashir coup plotters

Families seek justice for Sudan’s slain anti-Bashir coup plotters
Awatef Mirghani holds a portrait of Esmat Mirghani, a Sudanese officer who was executed in 1990, during an interveiw with AFP in her home in the capital Khartoum on July 27, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 01 August 2020

Families seek justice for Sudan’s slain anti-Bashir coup plotters

Families seek justice for Sudan’s slain anti-Bashir coup plotters
  • Since 1990 attempt, they have endured intimidation, arrests and beatings, but now they see hope

KHARTOUM/CAIRO: After decades of searching for their loved ones’ remains, the families of slain Sudanese officers who attempted a coup against strongman Omar Bashir are demanding the killers be held accountable.

Since the 1990 attempt, they have endured intimidation, arrests and beatings — but Bashir’s ouster in April 2019 spurred hopes that they could finally receive justice.
Last week, investigators looking into crimes during the strongman’s 30-year rule found the bodies of the 28 officers dumped in a mass grave in the city of Omdurman.
The coup attempt came just months after Bashir overthrew the democratically elected government of Sadiq Al-Mahdi in 1989.
The attempt to oust him was thwarted and the officers were immediately executed.
“We have been searching for their graves for 30 years. It was a heinous crime. There was no trial, no investigation and they were executed only 24 hours after their arrest,” said Awatef Mirghani, the sister of one of the officers, Esmat.
“They were all dumped in a single grave, still wearing their uniforms. It was a violation of human dignity,” she said, choking back tears.
In her Khartoum house, Fathiya Kembal keeps at a framed photo of her husband, Bashir Abudeik, in uniform and flashing a broad smile.
The photo, taken as he attended training in the US, bears a black band on one side as a sign of mourning.
It was April 22, 1990 when the couple and their children gathered at a friend’s house for iftar, an evening meal to break the fast during Ramadan.
Abudeik later drove his family to her father’s house, where “he said he would be busy for two days.”
The following morning, she woke up to the news of a coup attempt.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Last week, investigators looking into Bashir’s crimes found the bodies of the 28 officers in a mass grave.

• The coup attempt came just months after Bashir overthrew Sadiq Al-Mahdi’s govt in 1989.

She rushed to a nearby military base to check on her husband. At the gate, she met some of her husband’s colleagues, who avoided her gaze.
“They knew he would be killed,” the 61-year-old lawyer said.
The news of her husband’s execution, along with other coup plotters, was announced on the official Radio Omdurman the next day.
“It was a massacre. (Abudeik’s killing) was an extrajudicial execution,” she said.
The families of the slain officers quickly united to call for justice and find the bodies of their loved ones.
“Our movement was formed in the spur of the moment and has never stopped since with women — wives, sisters, mothers — at its core,” said Kembal.
As they sought answers, they faced a heavy-handed crackdown.
Their protests outside government buildings were violently broken up by security forces.
Many were arrested or banned from civil service jobs. Some were forced into exile.
But their movement found a ray of hope as nationwide protests erupted against Bashir in December 2018, mainly triggered by economic hardship. The families joined the demonstrations, including the protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum.
They issued a booklet saying the officers had sought “to restore the democratic rule Bashir had overthrown, win the release of political detainees and bring those who undermined the constitutional order to trial.”
The officers’ bodies have yet to be exhumed, but the families hope their memories will be honored.


Jordan begins COVID-19 vaccines as students start to return

Jordan’s king, crown prince, and many well-known medical and media celebrities were filmed receiving the vaccination in an effort to convince skeptics of its safety. (RHCJO)
Jordan’s king, crown prince, and many well-known medical and media celebrities were filmed receiving the vaccination in an effort to convince skeptics of its safety. (RHCJO)
Updated 19 min 58 sec ago

Jordan begins COVID-19 vaccines as students start to return

Jordan’s king, crown prince, and many well-known medical and media celebrities were filmed receiving the vaccination in an effort to convince skeptics of its safety. (RHCJO)
  • Hillaleh Oweis, 92, was the first to take the vaccine in the city of Jarash
  • King Abdullah II and the crown prince have also received their vaccinations

AMMAN: Jordan has started inoculating its citizens against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and became the first country to start vaccinating refugees on its soil. 

Jordan’s king, crown prince, and many well-known medical and media celebrities were filmed receiving the vaccination in an effort to convince skeptics of its safety.

 

 

Hillaleh Oweis, 92, was the first to take the vaccine in the city of Jarash. Her daughter Eman told Arab News that her mother was initially skeptical of the vaccine but was eventually convinced of its safety and has shown no side effects.

Ziad Al-Kabashi, an Iraqi refugee in Irbid, was among the first refugees in the world to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He was prioritized for the vaccine because he suffers from chronic diseases and is considered part of the high-risk category.

Meanwhile, government spokesperson Ali Al Ayed announced the lifting of the Friday curfew but said that the daily midnight-to-sunrise curfew will remain.

Minister of Education Tayseer Nueimi said that as of Feb. 7, students from kindergarten, the third grade and the 12th grade will gradually return to classes, while other grades will continue with remote learning, with a review every two weeks.

Nadine Nimri, head of a popular campaign for the return to schools, told Arab News that an online poll of 25,000 Jordanians by the pressure group showed that the knowledge gap had widened considerably during the past 11 months of online teaching.

Nimri said: “81 percent of the families said that their children’s education has been badly affected, with many unable to connect to the government-sponsored online teaching program.”

She added: “The system is a one-way process and does not engage with students.” 

Nimri welcomed the decision to return some grades to school. “Even though it was late, the decision is a good one. Now schools need to make up for all the lost teaching days. They need to put a reasonable plan to make up what was lost before moving ahead.”

Thoqan Obeidat, a veteran educator, told Arab News that decisions to restart the second semester should be based on science, not politics or peer pressure. “We are all for the opening of schools, but this should be done only if the health situation allows.”

He added: “In the meantime, we should continue to improve online teaching until we are able to guarantee safe face-to-face education.”

Obeidat criticized the decision to rotate students from the early grades as families will have some children going back to school and others stuck at home.