Sudan arrests second opposition leader

June 8, 2014 3:11 pm
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udanese police on Sunday arrested an opposition leader accused of having criticised a counter-insurgency unit/FILE
Sudanese police on Sunday arrested an opposition leader accused of having criticized a counter-insurgency unit/FILE

, KHARTOUM, June 8 – Sudanese police on Sunday arrested an opposition leader accused of having criticized a counter-insurgency unit, an aide said, in the second such case in just over three weeks.

Sudanese Congress Party chief Ibrahim al-Sheikh was taken away from his home in Nuhud town of West Kordofan by police acting on an arrest warrant, the party’s secretary general, Abdelqayum Awad, told AFP.

“They accused him of undermining the constitutional regime, spreading lies and threatening peace,” he said.

Sheikh could face the death penalty if found guilty of these charges, he said.

According to Awad, Sheikh, a former university professor, had at a rally on Saturday criticised the actions of the counter-insurgency unit known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and protested over politically-motivated arrests.

On May 17, Sadiq al-Mahdi, an ex-premier who heads the opposition Umma Party, was arrested after he reportedly accused the RSF of rape and other abuses of civilians in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

He too has been charged with treason-related offences and could face a possible death sentence if convicted.

Mahdi, a descendant of Sudan’s legendary Islamic reformer known as the “Mahdi”, is also a religious leader revered by his followers.

The United States and the European Union have expressed concern over his arrest, and in Sudan thousands of Mahdi’s supporters have held protests demanding his release.

Khartoum has banned newspapers from reporting on his case.

The RSF operates under the authority of the National Intelligence and Security Service and has denied Mahdi’s reported claims.

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