Connect with us

North Africa

Sudanese authorities ban Al-Jazeera office amidst pro-democracy protests

The news channel is funded by Doha, a close ally of former president Bashir

News Central

Published

on

Sudanese authorities ban Al-Jazeera office amidst pro-democracy protests
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Sudanese authorities on Thursday shut down news broadcaster Al Jazeera’s Khartoum office, as thousands of protesters gathered outside the country’s military headquarters to pressure the ruling generals to cede power.

The sprawling military complex has become the focal point of the weeks-long protest movement, which is calling for the country’s Transitional Military Council to hand over power to civilians, following the ousting of longtime autocrat, President Omar al-Bashir in April.

Late Thursday, the Qatari television channel said its bureau was abruptly shut down and its journalists banned from reporting in the country with immediate effect, without being given a reason. 

“They told us that the military council had decided to close the Al Jazeera network’s office and withdraw its license,” bureau director Al-Musallami Al-Kabbashi told AFP.

The news channel, which regularly broadcasts footage of the demonstrations in Sudan, is funded by Doha, a close ally of former president Bashir.

“The Network sees this as an attack on media freedom, professional journalism, and the basic tenets of the right for people to know and understand the reality of what is happening in Sudan,” Al Jazeera said in a statement published online. 

Meanwhile, the military council said incidents on the margins of the protest site were threatening public safety. 

“In the face of those developments that threaten public security and safety,” authorities would “work in accordance with the law to guarantee citizens’ safety and to resolve manifestations of insecurity and lawlessness,” it said in a statement. 

Chanting slogans in favour of a civilian government, singing and waving Sudanese flags, the mostly young protesters gathered after dusk on Thursday to join the demonstration. 

“We’re here to confirm our basic demand for a civilian authority in the transitional period until we can guarantee a real democratic transition,” said Mohamed Hasan, a young protester outside the military headquarters.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change protest movement had called for people to gather at the site on Thursday for a “million-strong march”.

“The goals of our revolution will be reached by peacefulness and not by violence,” Wajdi Saleh, a spokesman for the protest group, said as he addressed the crowd.

‘We want a civil state’ –

The latest demonstration came the day after a two-day general strike to pressure the military council to resume suspended talks on the future shape of a transitional authority.

The two sides had agreed on many aspects of a political transition, including its duration and the bodies to oversee it.

But negotiations broke down over the question of whether a planned transitional body would be headed by a civilian or military figure.

The army ousted Bashir on April 11 after months of protests against his autocratic, three-decade rule.

Thousands of protesters have remained camped outside the sprawling Khartoum military compound ever since.

The generals, backed by key Arab powers, have resisted calls from African and Western governments to hand over the reins of power.

Hundreds of women marched through central Khartoum earlier in the day calling for a civilian government.

As they made their way through the capital to the sit-in, they chanted: “Freedom, peace, justice, civil government is the people’s choice!”

“The Sudanese woman demands… justice, equality democracy, a civil government and fair government,” said Hoyam al-Taj, a journalist in her thirties taking part in the march.

Nada Hashem, a young mother in brightly coloured traditional Sudanese dress, agreed.

“We want a civil state that will guarantee our rights as women and guarantee us a dignified life,” she told AFP.

The head of the ruling military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, was in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to attend summits with Arab and Muslim leaders.

A statement from the council said that “several bilateral meetings are planned”.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

North Africa

Jailed Egyptian ex-president Morsi dies after court collapse

“He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted.” -Judicial source

Published

on

Jailed Egyptian ex-president Morsi dies after court collapsing
Ousted (now late) Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Ahmed Omar / Anadolu Agency

Former Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi died on Monday in a Cairo hospital after fainting during a session in court, judicial and security sources said.

“He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died,” a judicial source said.

The official Al-Ahram news website also reported the death of Morsi, who was Egypt’s first democratically elected president but spent just one turbulent year in office after the 2011 uprising before the army toppled him in July 2013.

While he was president, Morsi issued a temporary constitutional declaration that granted him unlimited powers and the power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts as a pre-emptive move against the expected dissolution of the second constituent assembly by the Mubarak-era judges.

The new constitution that was then hastily finalised by the Islamist-dominated constitutional assembly, presented to the president, and scheduled for a referendum, before the Supreme Constitutional Court could rule on the constitutionality of the assembly, was described by independent press agencies not aligned with the regime as an “Islamist coup”.

This led to an uproar that contributed to his government being ousted by Abdelfatah Al-Sisi, the incumbent president.

Continue Reading

Africa News & Updates

Key Bouteflika ally, Ali Haddad jailed for six months in Algeria

Haddad, who owns Algeria’s largest private construction company, is the first high-profile figure with ties to Bouteflika to be jailed

News Central

Published

on

Ali Haddad, pro-Bouteflika businessman and main funders of Bouteflika's electoral campaigns is seen in a car after arrested

A key backer of Algeria’s former leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika and one of the country’s top businessmen, Ali Haddad, was jailed for six months Monday for holding two passports, state television reported. Haddad was arrested in late March on the border with Tunisia, in possession of two passports and undeclared currency, days before Bouteflika resigned in the face of mass protests.

Haddad, who owns Algeria’s largest private construction company, is the first high-profile figure with ties to Bouteflika to be jailed since the president stepped down. He was found guilty of the “unjustified procurement of administrative documents” and also fined 50,000 dinars, state television reported.

Described by Forbes as one of Algeria’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Haddad is widely perceived to have used his links to Bouteflika to build his business empire. The businessman had denied breaking the law and said he obtained his second passport legally after seeking an interview with the then prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal.

The ex-premier and Haddad are among many businessmen and former politicians caught up in a separate anti-corruption investigation launched since the president stepped down. Earlier this month Haddad’s lawyer, Khaled Bourayou, decried a “political trial” and told journalists the passport case had no legal basis.

The sentence is significantly lower than the 18 months term and a fine of 100,000 dinars requested by the prosecutor. Hassane Boualem, then director of titles and secure documents at the interior ministry, was given a two-month suspended sentence and fined 20,000 for issuing Haddad’s second passport in 2016.

He told the court he was following the orders of his superiors – interior ministry head Hocine Mazouz, Sellal and Algeria’s current premier Noureddine Bedoui – who were not investigated over the affair.

Continue Reading

North Africa

UNSMIL welcomes Al-Sarraj’s initiative to end conflict in Tripoli

UNSMIL also said it “offers its good offices to assist the country to emerge from its long state of transition towards a period of peace, stability and prosperity.”

Published

on

Fighters loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) open fire from their position

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has welcomed the initiative launched by Head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, to end the conflict which has lasted for two months in Tripoli.

In a statement released on Sunday the Mission said “UNSMIL welcomes the initiative, and any other initiative proposed by any of Libya’s major actors.”

UNSMIL also said it “offers its good offices to assist the country to emerge from its long state of transition towards a period of peace, stability and prosperity.”

On Sunday, Al-Sarraj unveiled a seven-point initiative “to resolve the Libyan crisis” during a speech in which he discussed the developments in the country considering what he called “the attack on Tripoli.”

He said the initiative includes “holding a Libyan national conference, in coordination with the UN mission in Libya, that gathers all the national powers and the people’s representatives from all parts of country.”

According to Al-Sarraj, part of what would be agreed upon during the conference includes a road map for the upcoming stage and the establishment of a constitutional base to hold the elections.

“The conference will also call upon the UN Security Council and the international community to support its outcomes,” Al-Sarraj added.

There have been clashes in Tripoli between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and militias of GNA after LNA launched a military operation in the capital on April 4. LNA’s operation aims to eliminate militias and terrorist groups that dominated the capital since 2011.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Newsletter

Trending