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VoaNews.com: 1. Sudan Delegation to Visit US to Discuss Removal from Terror List 2. Sudan Party Officials Arrested as Bashir Inquiry Begins

Posted by: Berhane.Habtemariam59@web.de

Date: Sunday, 21 April 2019

Protesters shout slogans by a banner depicting former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in front of the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan, April 19, 2019.
Protesters shout slogans by a banner depicting former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in front of the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan, April 19, 2019.

A Sudanese delegation is expected to visit the United States for talks aimed at getting Sudan removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Sudan's army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in his first interview on state television since taking power, said the delegation could travel as soon as “this week or next week for discussions.”

The U.S. government added Sudan to its terrorism list in 1993 over allegations that then-President Omar al-Bashir's government was supporting terrorism. Bashir was ousted earlier this month by the military after three decades in power.

In 2017, the United States lifted its 20-year-old trade embargo imposed on Sudan, but it left Sudan on its state sponsors of terrorism list along with Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Since Bashir's removal, U.S. officials have praised the country's new military leader for freeing political prisoners. On Thursday, State Department officials announced it would send an envoy to Khartoum to encourage a transition to democracy.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. will be there to "calibrate our policies based on our assessment of events" but added that Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism “remains in effect, and Phase II discussions are suspended.”

"The will of the Sudanese people is clear: it is time to move toward a transitional government that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law," she said.

Burhan took the leadership position after his predecessor General Awad Ibn Ouf resigned less than 24 hours after becoming military council chief.

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Sudan Party Officials Arrested as Bashir Inquiry Begins

Protesters shout slogans by a banner depicting former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in front of the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan, April 19, 2019.
Protesters shout slogans by a banner depicting former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in front of the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan, April 19, 2019.

Sudanese authorities have arrested several top members of the former ruling party of ousted President Omar al-Bashir, in a move that could bolster military rulers who are under mounting pressure by protesters to hand power to civilians.

In another part of a widening crackdown designed to remove remnants of Bashir’s rule, the transitional military council (TMC) said it will retire all eight of the officers ranked lieutenant general in the National Intelligence and Security Service.

Opposition groups had demanded that the security agencies be restructured.

Sudan’s public prosecutor has begun investigating Bashir on charges of money laundering and possession of large sums of foreign currency without legal grounds, a judicial source said earlier on Saturday.

Sudanese demonstrators march with national flags as they gather during a rally demanding a civilian body to lead the transition to democracy, outside the army headquarters in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, April 13, 2019.
Sudanese demonstrators march with national flags as they gather during a rally demanding a civilian body to lead the transition to democracy, outside the army headquarters in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, April 13, 2019.

Suitcases loaded with cash

The source said military intelligence officers who searched Bashir’s home found suitcases loaded with more than $351,000 and 6 million euros, as well as 5 million Sudanese pounds.

“The chief public prosecutor ... ordered the (former) president detained and quickly questioned in preparation to put him on trial,” the judicial source told Reuters.

“The public prosecution will question the former president in Kobar prison,” the source said. Bashir has not been questioned yet, the source added. Two of his brothers were also detained on allegations of corruption, the source said.

Relatives could not immediately be reached Saturday for comment about the investigation.

FILE - Ahmed Harun, who then was South Kordofan governor, gestures during a press conference in Talodi, Sudan, April 12, 2012. On April 20, 2019, Harun was one of several leaders of the former ruling National Congress Party who were arrested, a senior party official said.
FILE - Ahmed Harun, who then was South Kordofan governor, gestures during a press conference in Talodi, Sudan, April 12, 2012. On April 20, 2019, Harun was one of several leaders of the former ruling National Congress Party who were arrested, a senior party official said.

Separately, a source in Bashir’s National Congress Party said authorities arrested the acting party head Ahmed Haroun, former first vice president Ali Osman Taha, former Bashir aide Awad al-Jaz, the secretary general of the Islamic movement Al-Zubair Ahmed Hassan and former parliament speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Taher.

The source also said parliament speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omar and presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie were under house arrest.

High-security prison

Bashir, who is also being sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s western Darfur region, was ousted April 11 by the military following months of protests against his rule and had been held at a presidential residence.

His family said this week that the former president had been moved to the high-security Kobar prison in Khartoum.

Hassan Bashir, a professor of political science at the University of Neelain, said the measures against Bashir are intended as a message to other figures associated with his rule that they are not above the law.

“The trial is a step that the military council wants to take to satisfy the protesters by presenting al-Bashir for trial,” he said.

Bashir survived several armed rebellions, economic crises, and attempts by the West to turn him into a pariah during his 30-year rule before he was toppled in a military coup.

At a sit-in outside Sudan’s Ministry of Defense that began on April 6, protesters, who sleep on the pavement, stood besides posters of Bashir that called on the ICC to put him on trial.

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