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Sudan’s opposition SCoP appoints temporary chairman

November 10, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) on Thursday appointed a leading member living abroad to serve as it temporary chairman, following the recent arrest of its chairman and other leadership members.

SCoP leader Omer al-Digair (ST Photo)

The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) detained SCoP chairman Omer al-Digair, in the first hours of Wednesday 9 November, days after the arrest of his deputy Khaled Omer Youssef, and SCoP former chairman Ibrahim al-Sheikh as well as other seven leading members across the country .

The arrest of the SCoP leadership took place as the opposition party launched a popular mobilization campaign to protest the government’s decision to raise fuel and electricity prices.

In statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday, SCoP spokesperson, Mohamed Hassan Arabi, said his party "has tasked the Head of SCoP Offices Abroad, Abdel Moneim Omer, with the activities of the SCoP chairman as of Thursday, 10 November 2016".

The statement added that that Omer would remain at the head of the party until the release of its leader al-Digair or his deputy Youssef.

SCoP Central Council approved Omer’s assignment as the acting chairman.

"The acting chairman instructed the various institutions of the party to continue in the Party’s firm political line, stressing that the party’s decisions are not affected by the repressive measures and does not depend on the deliberate targeting of its leadership and membership," said the statement.

In a related development, the British Ambassador to Sudan, Michael Aron, has expressed concern about the detention of SCoP current and former leaders.

In a tweet posted on Thursday, Aron called for the release of the detained SCoP leaders.
"Very concerned about detained SCP Sudan leaders Degeir and Sheikh. Call for their release, good treatment and due process vital" wrote the British diplomat.

Despite the severe arrest campaign against its leaders and members, SCoP supporters continue holding spontaneous public meetings in several areas including Khartoum, Obeid and Sinnar.

SCoP campaigners call to reject the recent austerity measures and to ensure public freedoms and rights.

On Wednesday, Sudan’s Minister of Information Ahmed Bilal Osman said members of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) were arrested for inciting to topple the regime following government decision to raise fuel and electricity price.

The SCoP was established in January 1986. It was first chaired by the former chief-justice Abdel-Mageed Imam who was succeeded by Ibrahim al-Skeikh and has recently elected al-Digair as its third chairman.

In recent months, the center-left party has challenged the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and organized political activities calling to resist the regime and take to the streets in protest against the deterioration of living conditions at all levels.

(ST)