KHARTOUM: Sudan has denounced Western criticism of the arrest of two high-profile former officials opposed to military rule and charged with corruption, saying it was contrary to “diplomatic norms and practices.”
Khalid Omer Yousif and Wagdi Salih were arrested on Wednesday, a move Norway, the US, Britain, the EU, Canada, and Switzerland condemned as “harassment and intimidation” by Sudan’s military authorities.
“This is blatant interference in internal Sudanese affairs, contrary to diplomatic norms and practices,” the Sudanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Both men had been part of the government that was toppled on Oct. 25 and had been detained in the weeks following. Since then, military leaders have repeatedly warned of foreign interference.
The two had been involved in a taskforce that seized assets from members of ousted President Omar Bashir’s regime that has come under criticism from the military. A committee reviewing its work said on Sunday it had found irregularities.
“The two citizens referred to were in fact detained based on clear criminal suspicion, not as a result of any political charge or motive, and the ambassadors concerned should have taken care to obtain accurate information from official sources,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.
The coup ended a partnership between the military and civilian political parties, drawing international condemnation and plunging Sudan into turmoil, with frequent nationwide demonstrations against the coup and a wave of political detentions.
Lawyers told Reuters this week more than 100 people remain in prison, while some 2,000 had been arrested and released.
Protests organized by neighborhood resistance committees have drawn hundreds of thousands of people, and at least 79 have been killed and more than 2,000 injured in crackdowns.
The wave of arrests has expanded following the killing of a senior police officer during a Jan. 13 protest close to the presidential palace in Khartoum.
The officer was stabbed to death, according to local media.
Security forces raided a Khartoum hospital and arrested six, including an injured protester and women who were visiting him, accusing them of being responsible for the killing.
The trend has frustrated diplomats working to bring the military and civilian leaders to some sort of an agreement.
“Arbitrary arrests and detention of political figures, civil society activists and journalists undermine efforts to resolve Sudan’s political crisis,” said Lucy Tamlyn, US chargé d’affaires in Sudan.