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.

 

Terrorist bomb attack kills 22 at UK pop concert

Trump says Israelis, Palestinians ‘can make a deal’

Bahrain police raid Shiite sit-in killing one protester

US forces raid Al-Qaeda in Yemen, kill seven jihadists

Faz3a, a local NGO mobilising young people to help Mosul refugees

Prominent Egypt rights lawyer detained

Oil producers to extend output curbs at OPEC meeting

NATO aims to break Turkey-Austria partnership deadlock

Tunisia tensions simmer after protester's death

Five dead in Syria car bomb attacks

Syria civilians suffer deadliest month of US-led strikes

Islamists to join Algeria cabinet despite poor results

Tunisia's 2.1% GDP growth marks economic upturn

Trump meets Palestinian leader in Bethlehem

Istanbul demolishes nightclub targeted in New Year attack

WHO says 315 cholera deaths in Yemen in under one month

Trump seeks Israeli-Palestinian peace, lashes out at Iran again

Tunisia police use tear gas on protesters

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

GCC and Arab League call for Yemen unity

Turkey's alleged coup ringleaders stand trial

Iran’s reformists sweep to power across major cities

Israel makes concessions to Palestinians 'at Trump's request'

Ivanka hales Saudi progress on women’s rights

Looming showdown between Egypt’s president, judges

Netanyahu says will discuss peace efforts with Trump

Bahrain sentences Shiite cleric to suspended jail term

Trump scandals no issue for Saudi says minister

Saudi women celebrate easing of guardianship system, call for more freedoms

Hamas sentences three to death for commander assassination

Rouhani faces fight with hardliners in US, Iran after election win

Trump to urge Muslim leaders to fight extremism in major speech

Trump tells Sisi he will soon visit Egypt

US, Saudi agree arms deals worth almost $110 billion

Iran's Rouhani wins re-election

Egypt marks MS804 crash with ceremony and no information

Trump lands in Riyadh on first foreign tour

IS bombing kills 35 in Iraq

US Pentagon plans to 'annihilate' IS

Dictator's nephew apologises to Tunisia for corruption

Trump heads to Saudi Arabia as domestic scandals mount

Ebrahim Raisi: hardline challenger in Iran

US and Saudi Arabia blacklist Hezbollah 'terrorist'

UN envoy slams deadly attack in Libya's south

Syria, allies condemn attack by US-led coalition