December 7, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Western nations have expressed concern over detention of Sudanese opposition leaders and recent crackdown on press saying government actions would hinder efforts for holding an inclusive national dialogue.
SCoP leader Omer al-Digair (ST Photo)
Following the government decision to raise fuel and electricity price on November 3rd, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) launched a large arrest campaign and detained more than 40 opposition figures from the Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) , National Umma Party (NUP), Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), Arab Ba’ath Party, National Alliance Forces (NAF) as well as civil society activists and journalists.
Also, the NISS carried out mass seizure campaign against newspapers during the last couple of weeks and confiscated various Khartoum dailies more than 21 times.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, Sudan’s Troika, European Union and Canada expressed concern about “the detention, apparently without charge, of a number of political leaders either in anticipation of protests or having protested government economic moves”.
“We are also aware of Sudanese authorities seizing newspapers and engaging in other forms of censorship, allegedly for reporting on expression of political views” read the statement.
The western nations further said “the arrest of political leaders for non-violent dissent risks hindering efforts for an inclusive National Dialogue that involves all the relevant political forces in Sudan in line with the African Union Roadmap, which we all support”.
“We call on the Sudanese authorities to allow the people to exercise their right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we urge those exercising their fundamental rights to express their opinions peacefully,” added the statement.
However, Sudanese foreign ministry denounced the Troika statement terming it as “unacceptable attempt to interfere in Sudan’s internal affairs” .
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Garib Allah al-Khidir further said the statement is “unjustified interference”, adding it lacks information and credibility, according to the official SUNA.
Last month, the government lifted fuel, electricity and drug subsidy. The government decision led to significant increase in the general price level and exacerbated the already dire living conditions.
The government move stirred a large wave of protests across Sudan and prompted large segments of the Sudanese people to engage in a three-day civil disobedience from 27 to 29 November.