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.


Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions