Families seek release of Sudan’s detained regime members

Relatives of Sudan’s former regime officials detained since the ouster of Omar al-Bashir demonstrated on Wednesday, seeking their release and condemning the protest movement that led to the autocrat’s downfall.

Bashir, who is on trial on corruption charges, was ousted by the army in April, spurred on by a nationwide protest movement against his iron-fisted rule of three decades.

Several top officials of Bashir’s regime have been detained along with him, but so far he is the only one on trial.

“Freedom for detainees, justice for all,” cried dozens of relatives of detainees, as they rallied outside the prime minister’s office in downtown Khartoum, an AFP correspondent reported.

“Down with the Forces of Freedom and Change,” the crowd chanted, referring to the umbrella protest movement that brought down Bashir.

The demonstrators carried Sudanese flags and photographs of detained regime officials, including Ahmed Harun and Ali Osman Taha, two former top Bashir aides.

“We are standing here seeking the release of our detainees because they have been held for a long time,” Taha’s son Musab Ali Osman told AFP.

“They have been held since April without any evidence against them and have not been brought before any court.”

Protests erupted in December last year after Bashir’s then government tripled the price of bread.

The demonstrations swiftly escalated into a nationwide movement against his regime and on April 11, the army ousted Bashir.

The protest movement says more than 250 people were killed during the months-long agitation – including many after Bashir’s downfall – as security forces cracked down on protesters. Officials have given a lower death toll.

Bashir is on trial for illegally acquiring and using foreign funds – alleged offences that could land him behind bars for more than a decade.

Sudan is currently ruled by an 11-member joint civilian-military sovereign council, which is tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule as demanded by protesters.