Bashir in Kobar prison

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Deposed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was moved to Khartoum’s grim high-security Kobar prison from the presidential residence, family sources said, as military rulers announced steps to crack down on corruption.

Sudan’s military ousted Bashir after weeks of mass protests ending with a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry compound. Protest leaders say demonstrations will not stop until the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) hands power to a civilian-led authority ahead of elections.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), leading the revolt, called for sweeping change to end a violent crackdown on dissent, purge corruption and cronyism and ease an economic crisis.

Representatives of the Sudan protesters and main opposition groups known as Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change submitted a two-page document to the TMC calling for establishment of a civilian-led ruling council with military representation, a member of the team told Reuters.

The document calls for a government comprising no more than 17 ministers and a transitional parliament of 120 members to supervise the work of government.

The TMC was ready to meet some protesters demands, including fighting corruption, but indicated it would not hand over power.

On Monday, the African Union urged the TMC to hand power to a transitional civilian-led authority within 15 days or risk Sudan being suspended from the AU.

Among a series of measures, the TMC announced two Bashir brothers, identified as businessmen Abdallah and al-Abbas, were most prominent among several people detained.

TMC spokesman Shams El Din Kabbashi  said in a statement on state TV irregular forces operating outside state institutions under Bashir, including the Popular Defence Forces, the National Service and the Popular Police, are now under direct military or police control.

The forces were accused of being linked to Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party.

The council earlier announced initial moves to tackle graft, including ordering the central bank to review financial transfers since April 1 and seize “suspect” funds, state news agency SUNA said on Wednesday.

SUNA added the TMC ordered “suspension of the transfer of ownership of any shares until further notice and for any large or suspect transfers of shares or companies to be reported” to state authorities.

The TMC decreed all state entities disclose financial holdings within 72 hours and warned officials failing to comply could be fined and face up to 10 years in prison, SUNA reported.

The decree applies to bank accounts and foreign currency holdings as well as precious metals and jewellery in and outside Sudan, according to the TMC.

BASHIR IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

Bashir (75) was under heavy guard in the presidential residence in the compound housing the Defence Ministry, before being transferred to Kobar prison on Tuesday, family sources said. He was in solitary confinement at Kobar, a prison source said.

Kobar, north of central Khartoum adjacent to the Blue Nile , housed thousands of political prisoners under Bashir’s rule and is Sudan’s most notorious jail.

Some political prisoners were freed since Bashir’s overthrow, including SPA members.

Awad Ibn Auf, an Islamist like Bashir, initially headed the TMC before stepping down after a day in the post. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who engaged in impromptu dialogue with protesters in the capital, now heads the council and promised elections within two years.

REBELS SUSPEND HOSTILITIES

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a rebel group fighting in the southern Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, announced it was stopping all hostilities until July 31 as a “goodwill gesture” following Bashir’s overthrow.

In a statement, the group’s leader Abdelaziz Adam al-Helew said the move was to help facilitate “immediate and smooth handover of power to civilians” in Sudan.

The SPLM-N sought to overthrow Bashir and pushed for autonomy for Blue Nile and South Kordofan states as well as redistribution of wealth and political powers.

Bashir ruled Sudan with an iron hand after seizing power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989.

UGANDA MAY OFFER ASYLUM TO BASHIR

Uganda will consider offering asylum to Bashir despite his decade-old indictment by the International Criminal Court, state minister for foreign affairs, Okello Oryem, told Reuters. Oryem said Bashir had yet to make contact with Kampala.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has in the past criticised the ICC, calling it a tool of Western justice against Africans.

Bashir faces ICC arrest warrants over accusations of genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to the death of an estimated 300,000 people. He denies the allegations. Fighting in Darfur subsided over the past three years.

The head of the TMC’s political committee, Omar Zain al-Abideen, said the council would not extradite Bashir for trial, suggesting he could be tried in Sudan.

In The Hague, an International Criminal Court spokesman declined comment “on hypothetical situations”. ICC member states, including Uganda, are legally obliged to hand over indictees in their territory.

Bashir defied the ICC by visiting several ICC member states. Diplomatic rows broke out when he went to South Africa in 2015 and Jordan in 2017. Both declined to arrest him for extradition to the ICC in the Netherlands.

London-based Amnesty International called for Bashir to be i extradited into ICC custody immediately. “His case must not be hurriedly tried in Sudan’s notoriously dysfunctional legal system. Justice must be served,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty director for East Africa, the Horn and Great Lakes.