Sudan's Bashir to release all political prisoners
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir during the country's first session of parliament (AFP Photo)
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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced on Monday the release of all political prisoners in the country, as tensions ease following recent agreements with South Sudan.
“Today we announce a decision to free all the political prisoners and renew our commitment to all political powers about dialogue,” Bashir said in a speech opening a new session of parliament.
“We confirm we will continue our communication with all political and social powers without excluding anyone, including those who are armed, for a national dialogue which will bring a solution to all the issues,” the president said.
His statement elaborated on an offer made last week by Vice President Ali Osman Taha, who reached out to rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states as well as to opposition political parties, whom he invited to join a constitutional dialogue.
The alliance of opposition parties and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rejected the vice president’s call.
Al-Shafi Khodr, a representative of Sudan’s Communist Party, told Al Arabiya that Bashir’s initiative is not enough and that the President needs to commit himself to scraping the laws under which political activists are detained and newspapers are shut down.