Sudan frees opposition leaders days before elections

Head of coalition of opposition groups, and key activist released ahead of Monday’s general elections.

Sudan opposition leader
Farouk Abu Issa was once the head of the National Consensus Forces, Sudan's coalition of opposition groups [AFP]

Two Sudanese opposition leaders have been released after four months in detention, days before national elections, their lawyer has said.

Farouk Abu Issa, the head of the coalition of opposition groups the National Consensus Forces,(NCF) and Amin Makki Madani, a prominent civil activist, were detained in December after signing an agreement to unite opposition to President Omar al-Bashir.

Lawyer Mohammed al-Zein told the AFP news agency that both Abu Issa and Madani were at home with their families.

He said that he had received no further details on the decision of their release on Thursday, which coincides with Sudan’s preparation for presidential and legislative elections, due to be held on Monday.

President Omar al-Bashir is widely expected to extend his 25-year rule.

The mainstream opposition is boycotting the vote and Bashir only faces a handful of little known contenders for the presidency.

“The president does not want international pressure or Sudanese pressure because of the elections,” Zein said.

A prosecutor had been seeking six charges against Abu Issa and Madani for signing the “Sudan Call” document aimed at uniting opposition groups.

Abu Issa signed on behalf of the a coalition of opposition forces, which he leads, and Madani signed for civil society groups.

A prosecutor had demanded that the pair be charged for founding and running a terrorist organisation as well as inciting war and hatred against the state.

Source: AFP