Sudan releases four political detainees

Tuesday November 23 2021
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdo

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (left) and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan at a past event. They signed a deal that saw four political detainees released. FILE PHOTO | ASHRAF SHAZLY | AFP


Sudanese authorities released four political detainees Sunday night, following an agreement that also saw the return of Abdullah Hamdok to the position of Prime Minister.

The authorities released the leader of the Sudanese Congress Party Omar Al-Digir, the deputy head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North Sector, Hamdok’s former advisor Yasser Arman, the head of the Sudanese Baath Party Ali Al-Sanhoury, and Al –Sydeeq  Sadiq al-Mahdi from the Umma Party.

The four were arrested in the wake of the army's seizure of power in Sudan, on October 25, 2021.

International, regional and Arab bodies welcomed the political agreement in Sudan, which resulted in the return of Abdallah Hamdok as prime minister in a "civilian-led transitional government", calling for the release of all political detainees.

A joint statement issued by the troika states, the United States, Britain and Norway, along with the European Union, Switzerland and Canada, said they welcome the agreement, "and they are waiting for elections. 

"We are excited about renewing our commitment to the 2019 Constitutional Declaration as a basis for the transition to democracy," the statement posted on Sunday night on the Twitter account of the US embassy in Khartoum stated.


The statement added that "We welcome Hamdok's release from house arrest, but urge the immediate release of all other political detainees, not only in Khartoum but across the country. These are all critical first steps toward restoring transition, constitutional order and the rule of law in Sudan."

For his part, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken welcomed reports that the Khartoum talks would lead to the release of all detainees, the return of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to his post, and the lifting of the state of emergency.

Blinken urged all parties to hold further talks and redouble efforts to complete the main transitional tasks towards the establishment of a civilian democratic leadership in Sudan.

Blinken also renewed his call to the security forces to refrain from the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators.

The International Mission in Sudan also reacted to the news and welcomed the agreement, calling on the transition partners to urgently address the outstanding issues to complete the political transition in a comprehensive manner.

The mission also issued a statement stressing on the need to protect the constitutional system to preserve basic freedoms for political action, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

The Democratic Republic of Congo called for an African Union meeting to lift the suspension of Sudan's membership, after the political agreement between Hamdok and Al-Burhan. 

African Union President Moussa Faki also welcomed the Sudanese step towards returning to constitutional legitimacy, calling on the Sudanese parties for national reconciliation.

The African Union called on the international community to renew its solidarity with Sudan to promote peace and democratic readiness for elections.

In turn, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abou El Gheit, welcomed the political agreement between Hamdok and Al-Burhan, stressing that this came as a result of great Sudanese efforts with Arab and international support.

In Cairo, Egypt praised “the wisdom and responsibility that the Sudanese parties demonstrated in reaching consensus on the success of the transitional period in a manner that serves Sudan's supreme interests." 

Egypt expressed her hope that the agreement would represent a step towards achieving sustainable stability in Sudan, opening up prospects for development and prosperity for the Sudanese people.

In Riyadh, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Kingdom’s welcome to the agreement reached by the parties to the transitional phase in Sudan on the tasks of the next phase, restoring the transitional institutions, arriving at the elections on time, forming a government of competencies to push the transitional process forward, and contributing to achieving the aspirations of the brotherly Sudanese people.

The army reinstated Hamdok to his position earlier on Sunday as part of a political agreement, and promised to release political detainees after weeks of turmoil that followed the army's seizure of power.

The agreement Hamdok signed with Army Commander Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan indicates that he will head a civilian technocratic government during the transitional period.

The army had placed Hamdok under house arrest when it seized power on October 25, and derailed Sudan from its transitional path toward civilian rule.

The army dissolved Hamdok's government and arrested a number of civilians who were occupying high positions under the power-sharing agreement that was reached with the army after the overthrow of former president Omar al-Bashir.