First Published: 2011-02-10

 

Like father like daughter: Sudan detains opposition leader

 

Mariam al-Mahdi arrested in mounting crackdown on opposition as she goes with activists to petition security forces for release of protesters in Khartoum.

 

Middle East Online

By Simon Martelli - KHARTOUM

Mahdi is the daughter of the ousted prime minister

Sudanese security services on Thursday arrested prominent government critic Mariam al-Mahdi, daughter of the premier whom President Omar al-Bashir ousted in a 1989 coup, as a crackdown on the opposition gathered pace.

Mahdi was arrested in Khartoum as she went with a group of activists to petition the security forces for the release of protesters detained nearly two weeks ago, a member of her Umma party said.

"The minute we stepped out of the car they arrested her," said Habab Mubarak, the daughter of another leading Umma party figure, Mubarak al-Fadil.

"They also violently grabbed the placards that we had in the back of the car showing pictures of those people who were detained on January 30," Mubarak said.

She said the incident took place after around 30 women, among them the mothers of those still in custody after anti-government demonstrations last month, set off to present their petition to the head of the Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services Mohammed Atta.

They had gathered at the home of Fadil and were just leaving when the security forces arrested Mariam al-Mahdi, daughter of Sadeq al-Mahdi, the premier Bashir overthrew.

"There was a huge number of riot police trucks and security officials outside the house. They were everywhere," Fadil's daughter said.

The heavy security contingent followed them to the NISS headquarters, where her mother and two other women attempted to hand over their petition, while the rest of the women sat outside the building.

Mubarak said her aunt and two cousins were taken by the police, driven to separate locations far from the city centre and dropped at the side of the road.

The latest arrest comes amid a wider crackdown on opposition activity in the face of the mass protests rocking the regime in neighbouring Egypt.

A spate of localised but vocal anti-government protests broke out in Khartoum and other northern cities in north Sudan at the end of January, organised by student activists via the Internet.

The demonstrators demanded a change of regime, civil liberties and an end to debilitating price rises.

Police used tear gas and batons to disperse them and arrested more than 100.

Also in January, security police arrested Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi shortly after he said in an AFP interview that a popular revolt like the one that ousted veteran Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was likely in north Sudan as the south voted for independence.

Last week, Human Rights Watch said the arrest of 16 people outside the communist party headquarters on Februay 2 was part of a pattern of repression.

"This fits in with the restrictions on the freedom of expression in Sudan, and the continued use of the national security apparatus, which has a long history of ill-treatment and torture, to detain journalists and activists," HRW's head of research on Sudan, Jehanne Henry, said.

 

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe