Image of deposed Sudan leader Omar Bashir in public for first time since ouster
London, June 16, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Sudan’s former President Omar al-Bashir appeared in public on Sunday for the first time since his ouster, as he was led away to a prosecutor’s office in a corruption probe.
The deposed strongman has been held under arrest in the capital, Khartoum, since the military removed him from power in April amid mass protests against his 30-year rule.
An official with the prosecutor’s office said al-Bashir was being questioned over corruption accusations that include money laundering and the possession of large amounts of foreign currency.
A spokesman with the military’s media office confirmed that this is the first time the ousted president was taken out from his prison in Khartoum.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
In May, al-Bashir was charged with involvement in killing protesters and incitement to kill protesters during the popular uprising that started in December, initially over the prices rises of basic goods and a failing economy, but which later turned into calls for his ouster. The military toppled him on April 11.
Al-Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of war crimes and genocide linked to the Darfur conflict in the 2000s
The ruling junta says it will not send Mr. al-Bashir to face those charges at the international court in The Hague. Such a move would be popular, however, with many civilian protesters, especially those from Darfur, where Mr. al-Bashir’s battle tactics led to at least 300,000 deaths.
For the military, a trial of Mr. al-Bashir might relieve the intense international criticism it has faced since the bloody crackdown on June 3. The new American envoy to Sudan, Donald Booth, met the junta leader, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on Thursday to press the military to halt attacks on civilians.
The conversation with General al-Burhan was “about as frank and direct as possible,” Tibor P. Nagy, a senior American official traveling with Mr. Booth, told reporters in a briefing on Friday.
On Thursday the military appeared to try to spread responsibility for the June 3 killings when a spokesman said that senior judicial officials had participated in plans to clear the protesters on the eve of the crackdown.
At Saturday’s news conference in Khartoum, though, the prosecutor general disputed that version of events, saying that the idea of dispersing the protesters was not discussed. AP