Omar al-Bashir moved to Sudan prison, say relatives

Transitional military rulers announce steps to crack down on corruption

A Sudanese soldier sits on the shoulders of a demonstrator outside the defence ministry in Khartoum on Tuesday. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

A Sudanese soldier sits on the shoulders of a demonstrator outside the defence ministry in Khartoum on Tuesday. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

 

Deposed ex-Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has been moved to Khartoum’s grim high-security Kobar prison from the presidential residence, family sources said on Wednesday, and transitional military rulers announced steps to crack down on corruption.

Sudan’s military ousted Mr Bashir after weeks of mass protests that climaxed in a sit-in outside the defence ministry compound. Protests are continuing and their leaders say the unrest will not cease until the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) hands power to a civilian-led authority ahead of elections.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), leading the revolt, has called for sweeping change to end violent crackdowns on dissent, purge corruption and cronyism and ease an economic crisis that worsened during Mr Bashir’s last years in power.

In initial moves to tackle graft, the TMC ordered the central bank to review financial transfers since April 1st and to seize “suspect” funds, state news agency SUNA said on Wednesday.

SUNA said the TMC also ordered the “suspension of the transfer of ownership of any shares until further notice and for any large or suspect transfers of shares or companies to be reported” to state authorities.

The TMC also decreed that all state entities disclose financial holdings within 72 hours, and warned that officials who failed to comply could be fined and face up to 10 years in prison, SUNA reported.

The decree applies to bank accounts and holdings of foreign currency as well as precious metals and jewellry inside and outside Sudan, according to the TMC.

Solitary confinement

Mr Bashir (75) had been detained under heavy guard in the presidential residence inside the compound that also houses the defence ministry, before being transferred to Kobar prison late on Tuesday, the family sources said. He was being held in solitary confinement at Kobar, a prison source said.

Kobar, just north of central Khartoum adjacent to the Blue Nile river, housed thousands of political prisoners under Mr Bashir’s nearly 30-year rule and is Sudan’s most notorious jail.

At least some political prisoners have been freed since Mr Bashir’s overthrow, including several SPA figures.

Awad Ibn Auf, an Islamist like Mr Bashir, initially headed the TMC before stepping down after one day in the post. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who has engaged in impromptu dialogue with protesters in the streets of the capital, now heads the council and has promised to hold elections within two years.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a rebel group fighting in the southern Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, announced it was ceasing all hostilities until July 31st as a “goodwill gesture” following Mr Bashir’s overthrow.

In a statement conveyed to Reuters in Khartoum, the group’s leader Abdelaziz Adam al-Helew said the move was to help facilitate “the immediate and smooth handover of power to civilians” in Sudan.

The SPLM-N had sought to overthrow Mr Bashir and pushed for autonomy for Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and a redistribution of wealth and political powers in the country.

Mr Bashir ruled Sudan with an iron hand after he seized power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989.

Asylum offer

Uganda will consider offering asylum to Mr Bashir despite his decade-old indictment by the International Criminal Court, said Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs, Okello Oryem. But Mr Oryem said Mr Bashir had yet to make any contact with Kampala.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has in the past criticised the ICC, calling it a tool of western justice against Africans.

Mr Bashir faces ICC arrest warrants over accusations of genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to the death of an estimated 300,000 people. He denies the allegations. Fighting in Darfur has subsided over the past three years.

The head of the TMC’s political committee, Omar Zain al-Abideen, said on Friday the council would not extradite Bashir for trial, suggesting he could be tried in Sudan instead. – Reuters