Sudan court acquits Bashir-era figures of plotting against transition

The case involved 13 defendants, including an ex-foreign minister who served under Bashir. 

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Sudan’s ousted president Omar al-Bashir

A Sudanese court on Thursday acquitted politicians and figures linked to the deposed regime of president Omar al-Bashir of plotting to overthrow the transition, a lawyer said. The case involved 13 defendants including the head of the former ruling National Congress Party, Ibrahim Ghandour, who is also an ex-foreign minister under Bashir. 

Following Bashir’s April 2019 ouster, Sudan embarked on a fragile transition toward civilian rule which was derailed in an October military coup. 

The accused were charged in 2020 during the now-deposed civilian-military transitional administration but trial began only a few months ago, according to defence lawyer Abdalla Derf. They were accused of an array of charges including undermining constitutional order and financing terrorism during the transition, Derf said.

“The court ordered the acquittal of all the defendants and their immediate release,” Derf told AFP. 

He said the prosecution can still appeal the case but the court “found no evidence to condemn the defendants.” 

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

Thursday’s verdict comes as Sudan grapples with the political and economic fallout of the coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Burhan has since tightened his grip on power, ousting from top posts Sudan’s main civilian alliance the Forces for Freedom and Change, which spearheaded anti-Bashir protests. 

The NCP hailed the verdict in favour of the party’s “leaders, figures, and youths after a long litigation process that lasted some 22 months”. It also accused the FFC of “fabricating” the charges.  

“We see the innocence of our party leaders as an opportunity for a new national launch and building a future fenced with comprehensive national consent,” it said in a statement.

Sudan’s latest military power grab triggered widespread international condemnation, crucial aid cuts, and regular mass protests across the country. 

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