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Sudan parliament reduces state of emergency to 6 months

In February, President Omar al-Bashir announced countrywide state of emergency for one-year period

Mohammed Amin   | 11.03.2019
Sudan parliament reduces state of emergency to 6 months

KHARTOUM 

Sudan’s parliament has approved a six-month countrywide state of emergency, Parliament Speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer announced Monday.

The move comes after President Omar al-Bashir declared a one-year state of emergency in February.

Along with the state of emergency, al-Bashir had also announced the establishment of “emergency courts” tasked with prosecuting anti-regime demonstrators, smugglers and foreign currency speculators.

According to Sudan’s Democratic Lawyers Alliance, an estimated 870 protesters have been hauled before the newly-established courts in the past two weeks alone.

Addressing lawmakers at Monday’s assembly session, Justice Minister Mohamed Ahmed Salim claimed the new courts were not specifically targeting protesters, whose right to due legal process, he said, was not being violated.

The six-month state of emergency was opposed by independent lawmakers and the Popular Congress Party of late opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi.

On Sunday, the deputy chairwoman of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party was slapped with a weeklong prison term for leading demonstrations in capital Khartoum.

Sudan has been rocked by popular protests since last December, with demonstrators decrying al-Bashir’s failure to remedy the country’s chronic economic woes.

A nation of 40 million, Sudan has struggled to recover from the loss of some three quarters of its oil output -- its main source of foreign currency -- since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

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