Sudanese opposition leader imprisoned

Africa

Mariam Al Mahdi defiantly said she would rather spend two weeks in jail than pay a fine.

Sudan has sentenced a leading political opposition figure to a week’s imprisonment, a first since the government of President Omar Al Bashir imposed a state of emergency last month as anti-government protests continue to engulf the North African country.

Mariam Al Mahdi, the chairperson of the National Uma Party (NUP), and her sister Rabah Al Mahdi, were among dozens of activists and politicians arrested and brought before an emergency court on Sunday, the Sudan Tribune reported.

The arrests followed police and security forces cordoning off the headquarters of the NUP where a major anti-government rally was due to kick off before it headed to the National Assembly to hand over a memo rejecting the state of emergency.

After appearing before the emergency court, Al Mahdi was fined $30, in addition to the week’s imprisonment, before being warned that if she did not pay the fine she would spend two weeks in jail.

However, the defiant opposition leader said on WhatsApp that she would not pay the fine and would instead spend the two weeks in prison.

Her sister Rabah was fined 500 Sudanese pounds after admitting she ululated to the crowd of protesters to stir up anti-government sentiment. The other activists and politicians received varying fines and jail terms.

The same day that Al Mahdi was sentenced, police and security forces used teargas and batons to disperse hundreds of protesters in various areas of Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman and in the neighbourhoods of Al Abasia and Banat.

Large protests, which first began last December over a hike in food prices and fuel shortages, have morphed into fully fledged protests calling for Al Bashir to step down. The protests have been met with a brutal crackdown by security forces leading to dozens of deaths and many more injuries.

African News Agency

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