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Islamist group protest in Khartoum for release of coup attempt convicts.

April 16, 2013 (KHARTOUM) -- Sudanese police dispersed dozens of the Islamist Sa'ihoon initiative group who were engaged in demonstrations near University of Khartoum's tunnel yesterday to protest the non-release of the coup attempt convicts despite reports of a presidential pardon.

Sudan's president Omer Al-Bashir (Getty)

Earlier this month, a military court sentenced seven army officers to prison terms of up to five years and dismissed them from service for their role in an alleged coup attempt against President Omer Hassan al-Bashir that was thwarted last November. At the time however, multiple sources predicted that Bashir will pardon them when he receives the ruling for endorsement per the law. Last week the Sudanese army spokesperson Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa'ad made an announcement declaring that the convicts made a plea to president Bashir to issue a pardon and have them freed from prison. But Col. Sa'ad's revelation was met with wide skepticism among observers who assert that the officers confessed to their role in the coup attempt making it implausible that they would turn around and ask for reprieve. A source with knowledge of the investigation into the coup attempt scoffed at the spokesperson's statement saying that the government was looking for a way out from the case which threatened to widen an increasing rift within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its Islamic base. The Sa'ihoon group, which means 'God-seeking wanderers' in Arabic, is a loose association of committed Islamists and former Popular Defense Forces (PDF) combatants. The demonstration which lasted for approximately 30 minutes saw the arrival of the Secretary General of the Sudanese Islamic movement (IM), Al-Zubier Ahmed Al-Hassan, who assured demonstrators that detainees will be freed in the coming hours. Osama Tawfig, member of the mediation team between the government and Sa'ihoon, told protesters that the president has already issued the decree to release the detainees on Monday afternoon and that the release will most likely take place on Wednesday. "They [the convicts] will be in their homes on Wednesday afternoon, I promise you; I have a copy of the presidential decree signed by Bashir" Tawfig was quoted as saying. But a spokesman for Sa'ihoon stressed that they would resume demonstrations, if detainees were not freed as promised. "We demand the release of all civilian and military detainees including those of the opposition and the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N)..... If our demands for radical reform were not met, then all options are open" he said. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Apr 17, 2013
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