Sudan emergency court sentences opposition party deputy head to prison

Deputy party leader Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi

A Sudanese emergency court has sentenced the deputy head of Sudan’s opposition Umma Party, Mariam Sadiq Al-Mahdi, to one week in prison, the Anadolu Agency reported.

The emergency court’s judge in Omdurman sentenced Al-Mahdi to prison for one week and fined her 2,000 Sudanese pounds ($43), lawyer Noun Kashkoush told Anadolu yesterday.

Kashkoush added that Al-Mahdi refused to pay the fine.

Al-Mahdi was arrested along with scores of others who were protesting outside the Umma Party premises in Omdurman, west of the capital Khartum.

Earlier yesterday Sudanese security personnel used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters before they could reach the parliament building.

On Saturday, a court sentenced nine girls to prison and flogging for their participation in protests. This is the first flogging sentence that Sudanese courts have issued since trials of protesters began in the emergency court last week.

In February, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir declared a state of emergency in response to demonstrations against his rule. He also issued four emergency laws, which include a decision allowing for the arrest of those suspected of violating the state of emergency. He also authorised state forces to enter buildings and search citizens.

Since last December, Sudanese cities have been witnessing major protests against price hikes. Protesters demand that Al-Bashir step down as president. According to government statistics, 32 people have died in the protests. Rights groups believe the number is much higher.