Sudanese Pro-democracy Activists Go on Hunger Strike to Protest 'Unjustified' Detention

Chaos in post-coup Sudan continues as politicians join civilians in a hunger strike against military rule

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Protesters march during a rally against military rule in Khartoum, Sudan, last Thursday.
Protesters march during a rally against military rule in Khartoum, Sudan, last Thursday.Credit: MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH/ REU

More than 100 Sudanese detainees, including high-profile politicians, began a hunger strike on Tuesday, allied lawyers and doctors said.

The detainees are part of the protest movement against an Oct. 25 army coup that ended a civilian-military power-sharing arrangement that followed the overthrow of long-ruling autocrat President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

The coup prompted mass protests during which 81 people have been killed, most recently two on Monday, and more than 2,000 injured, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.

"More than 100 unlawful detainees in Soba prison entered today in an open hunger strike due to their unjustified and illegal detention," the Defense Committee for the Unlawfully Detained and Martyrs of Arbitrary Killings said in a statement.

People protest against last year's military coup, in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday.Credit: Marwan Ali /AP

The group said separately that one suspect in the killing of a police brigadier-general had been tortured while another was in solitary confinement. Reuters was trying to reach officials for comment on the allegation.

Civilian politicians Khalid Omer Yousif and Wagdi Salih were taking part in the hunger strike, said Abdelqayom Awad, a member of Yousif's Sudanese Congress Party.

Along with former Sovereign Council member Mohamed al-Faki Suleiman who was arrested on Sunday, the men face corruption charges apparently stemming from their work on a taskforce dismantling the network of Bashir.

The Sovereign Council was a body of civilian politicians and military men set up after Bashir's overthrow to lead a transition to democracy.

It was dissolved after the October coup, setting back those plans. Military leaders say the coup was necessary due to political infighting and for the country's security, but they say they are still committed to elections in mid-2023.

Military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in an interview on Saturday he was not involved in the arrests of Yousif and Salih - who were also detained temporarily in the coup - but that their work on the committee had diverged from its aims.

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