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Sudan’s Bashir gets two years’ detention for corruption

A Sudanese court on Saturday ordered former president Omar al-Bashir to be detained for two years in a correctional centre for corruption in one of several cases against the ousted autocrat.

Bashir, who was toppled by the army in April after months of mass demonstrations, was convicted of graft and “possession of foreign currency”, judge Al Sadiq Abdelrahman said.

The court ordered the 75-year-old to serve two years in a correctional centre for the elderly.

“Under the law, those who reached the age of 70 shall not serve jail terms,” the judge said.

Bashir will serve his sentence after the verdict has been reached in another case in which he is accused of ordering the killing of demonstrators during the protests that led to his ouster, the judge said.

The court also ordered the confiscation of 6.9 million euros, $351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds ($128,000) found at Bashir’s home.


The ex-president will appeal the verdict, said one of his lawyers, Ahmed Ibrahim.

Bashir’s defense team and his National Congress party say the charges are politically motivated.

Outside the court, several dozen Bashir supporters protested chanting: “There is no god but God.”

During his trial which began in August, just two days after the signing of a historic agreement between the military council and the leaders of the protest movement, the deposed strongman appeared several times in a metal cage wearing the traditional Sudanese white jalabiya and turban.

While the former president admitted to having received a total of $90 million from Saudi leaders, the trial centred on the $25 million received from Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Bashir said the money seized from his home came out of the $25 million.

The funds, he said, formed part of Sudan’s strategic relations with Saudi Arabia and were “not used for private interests but as donations”.

Bashir’s lawyer Mohamed al-Hassan had said before the verdict that the ex-president’s defence did not see the trial as a legal case, but as “a political” one.

The trial does not relate to charges Bashir faces at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Bashir has been wanted by the ICC for years for his role in the Darfur war that broke out in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against his Arab-dominated government which they accused of marginalising the region.

Human rights groups say Khartoum targeted suspected pro-rebel ethnic groups with a scorched earth policy, raping, killing, looting and burning villages.
The Darfur conflict left around 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the United Nations.

After Bashir was toppled, ICC prosecutors requested he stand trial for the killings in Darfur.

Army generals who initially seized power after the president’s fall refused to hand him over.

But Sudan’s umbrella protest movement, which now has significant representation on a sovereign council that in August became the country’s highest executive authority—recently said it has no objection to his extradition.

Separately, on November 12, Sudanese authorities filed charges against Bashir and some of his aides for “plotting” the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

In May, Sudan’s attorney general said Bashir had been charged with the deaths of those killed during the anti-regime demonstrations that led to his ouster, without specifying when he would face trial.

Meanwhile, thousands marched through the streets of Khartoum on Saturday in “Green March” condemning government policy of freedom and change.

The protesters chanting “Freedom, peace, justice, and Islam is the choice of the people,” said they aimed at restoring legitimacy.

On the other hand, opponents of the revolutionaries took to separate streets in central Khartoum in unannounced marches denouncing the civilian-military cabinet ruling the country calling them “thieves”.

The protest led to the closure of the roads leading to army headquarters in central Khartoum.

By The Eastafrica

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