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.

 

Iraq investigates Mosul civilian deaths

Iran to symbolically sanction 15 US companies

Syria fighting damages IS-held dam posing rising water risk

Yemeni rebel supporters flood streets on conflict’s anniversary

Cities, monuments dim lights for Earth Hour

In Algeria, everyone wants to be MP, few likely to vote

Iran to appeal seizure of 9/11 compensation money

Hamas shuts Gaza crossing after assassination of official

Deep concern as Israeli laws entrench the occupation

Turkey’s Kurds could sway tight referendum vote

Al-Qaeda, on the rise again, hits Assad where it hurts

US and allies talk of post-ISIS future, but have no plan

Israel’s air strike on Syria spooks Middle East

Gunmen kill Hamas official in Gaza

Separate Syria air strikes kill at least 32

UN says Israel has ignored resolution on illegal settlements

Veteran politician says Turkey referendum a 'test' for Kurds

More Algerian women in work, but husbands control wages

Beirut university settles US lawsuit over Hezbollah

1.1 million weekend travellers from Dubai hit by laptop ban

Shiite Lebanese women endure painful custody battles

Russia, China seek Iraq chemical weapons probe

Besieged Syrians struggle with dwindling dialysis supplies

Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels

Syria says peace talks must first focus on 'terrorism'

12 Syrian refugees dead after boat sinks off Turkey coast

Mosul displaced head into unknown

As war keeps them away, Yemen children dream of school

Ousted Egyptian president Mubarak freed from detention

Iraq's Sadr threatens boycott if election law unchanged

Israel, US fail to reach settlement agreement

Yemen rebel missile kills Saudi soldier

Turkish FM in Switzerland amid rising tensions with Europe

Two more 'significant arrests' over London attack

Britain arrests eight as IS claims Westminster attack

Man attempts to drive into crowd of shoppers in Belgium’s Antwerp

Palestinian FA chief says ball in Israel's court

Israel arrests Jewish teen over anti-Semitic terror threats

An Egypt court is to reopen a corruption probe into Mubarak

Bahrain frees award-winning AFP photographer

Erdogan slams 'pressure' on Turks in Bulgaria ahead of vote

Israel policeman suspended after caught on video beating Palestinian

Turkey summons Russia envoy over soldier death in Syria

Bahrain sentences three to death for police bombings

UN-backed Syria talks restart in Geneva