Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has been charged with corruption after he was deposed in April following extended civil unrest. The latest charges come as an additional setback for the dictator who ruled Sudan for 30 years, according to The Telegraph.
Sudan’s chief prosecutor Al Waleed Sayed Ahmad Mahmoud announced the completion of all investigations against the deposed autocrat. The investigation led by anti-corruption prosecutors, has charged al-Bashir with “possessing foreign funds, acquiring suspected and illegal wealth, and ordering (the state of) emergency,” according to The Telegraph.
Shortly after his arrest, military intelligence officers searched al-Bashir’s residence. The search revealed suitcases filled with money, including more than $350,000, 7 million Euros, and 5 billion in Sudanese pounds. The funds totaled more than $113 million. The discovery of these funds led Sudan’s chief prosecutor to order al-Bashir’s interrogation on May 2 about this matter as part of the initial investigation of suspected money laundering and financing terrorism. This investigation not only involved al-Bashir but also extended to officials of the former regime such as Al-Bashir’s brothers who were also arrested and interrogated, according to The Middle East Eye.
The announcement of corruption charges emerged against the backdrop of continued upheaval and unrest in the country. The Transitional Military Council (TMC), which has ruled the country following al-Bashir’s ouster in April, faces opposition from proponents calling for the creation of a civilian government. The army has responded with deadly force.
More than 100 protestors were killed after staging a sit-in protest on June 3 at a protest camp in the center of Khartoum, the nation’s capital.
A spokesperson for the TMC said that an investigation launched into the protest camp led to the arrest of several military officers. While the official death toll was reported at 100, many note that bodies were dumped in the Nile to cover up the extent of the killing. Medical personnel indicated than more than 70 rapes have occurred during the crackdown, according to The Guardian.
Despite the fierce crackdown, protestors calling for civilian rule continue to make demands on the military government, and protests have resumed in the capital after military officials admitted abuses in the attack on the camp.
Current protests are almost spontaneous given the fact that opposition leaders called off the general strike which was intended to force Sudan’s military government to transition to civilian rule. Protests have now spread to Omdurman, which sits on the opposite bank of the Nile. Hundreds of people in favor of civilian rule chanted slogans and advocated for a civilian government while pledging “revolution forever.” These protestors want the civil disobedience campaign to continue until the military government accepts civilian rule, according to The Guardian. Yet, the military views the grassroots protests as a significant threat.
Much of the opposition to al-Bashir’s regime and the current protests are rooted in neighborhood committees. After the government imposed an internet shutdown, protest activity has been organized by word of mouth and SMS messages. One protestor illustrated this point, saying: “I shouted out to my neighbors telling them about the time of the protest and in some cases people knocked on each other’s doors and called on them to come out.”
Civilian protests that began last December toppled al-Bashir. Protestors expressed discontent with the deepening economic crisis and al-Bashir’s autocratic rule, which led to the Sudanese Army seizing control of the government. Sudan’s Defense Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, an ally of al-Bashir, officially announced on state television the arrest and detention of al-Bashir, suspension of the constitution, and dissolution of the government and parliament. He also announced the military would rule for two years in order to facilitate a transition to civilian government. Auf was later sworn in as leader of the TWC. Protestors criticized the central role of an al-Bashir figure in the post al-Bashir era. Auf, too, is a controversial figure because he was sanctioned by the US for his role in the genocide against local populations in Darfur, beginning in the early 2000s.
About the Author
Stephen G. Hall is a sections editor for The North Star. He is a historian specializing in 19th and 20th century African American and American intellectual, social and cultural history and the African Diaspora. Hall is the author of A Faithful Account of the Race: African American Historical Writing in Nineteenth-Century America and is working on a new book exploring the scholarly production of Black historians on the African Diaspora from 1885 to 1960.