Some political detainees freed in Sudan after emergency law lifted

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Sudanese authorities freed several dozen political detainees on Monday though others remain jailed, a lawyers’ group said, a day after Sudan’s military ruler announced the lifting of the state of emergency imposed after an October coup.

The releases included 24 people connected to the anti-military protest movement in Port Sudan, and another 39 in or near the capital, Khartoum, said the emergency lawyers’ committee, an activist group.

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Regular mass street protests calling for the military to quit politics have continued for more than seven months since the coup, which ended a military-civilian power sharing arrangement struck after the 2019 overthrow of Omar al-Bashir.

There were further demonstrations on Monday in the city of Omdurman, across the Nile from Khartoum, where a Reuters reporter saw protesters blocking a main street and a bridge and burning car tires.

Military ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced on Sunday the lifting of the state of emergency imposed after the coup, saying the step was meant to create an atmosphere for dialogue. Efforts involving the United Nations and the African Union to break the deadlock between the military and its opponents have so far brought little progress.

The prisoner releases come ahead of a visit starting June 1 by a United Nations human rights expert, Adama Dieng.

About 50 people remain detained at Khartoum’s Soba prison, and 32 people arrested after protests on Saturday are being held by police, said Samir Sheikh Idris, a spokesman for the lawyer’s group.

“We demand the immediate release of all those arrested because their arrests were under the emergency law and as soon as it was cancelled there was no legal basis for their detention,” he said.

Doctors connected to the protest movement say 98 civilians have been killed by security forces in crackdowns on the demonstrations. Military rulers say they allow peaceful protests and that casualties will be investigated.

Read more: Sudan women’s activist Amira Osman Hamed wins human rights prize

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