As Sudan's transitional civilian government continues its nascent rule, the country's former President Omar al-Bashir, who was removed from power after 30 years earlier this year following nationwide protests, was sentenced Saturday to two years detention in a state-run reform center on financial irregularities and corruption charges. Some of his supporters briefly disrupted the proceedings before being forced out of the courtroom.
The 75-year-old is reportedly protected somewhat by a law that prevents anyone over the age of 70 from serving jail time. He will reportedly serve his sentence after a verdict is reached in another case in which he is accused of ordering security forces to kill the protesters in the movement that led to his removal, and he was also questioned about the 1989 coup in which he was brought to power. One of his lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague is also pursuing al-Bashir for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region, but none of the cases against him in Sudan are connected to those allegations. Read more at Al Jazeera and BBC. Tim O'Donnell
Sudan's 39-month transition to elections has begun.
On Tuesday evening, Sudan's ruling military council formally disbanded, and the country's generals and opposition leaders formed a new 11-member joint ruling body, which is made up of six civilians and five soldiers. Among the civilians are a woman, a journalist, and a Coptic Christian judge, who was appointed as the council's 11th member after an agreement by both sides. The members were sworn in on Wednesday, Al Jazeera reports.
The old military council's leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan will helm the new council for the first 21 months of the transitional period before the protest leaders appoint a civilian to succeed him for the final 18 months prior to the promised elections.
In addition, economist Abdalla Hamdok is set to be sworn in as Sudan's new prime minister after he was nominated by the main opposition alliance last week. Hamdok is reportedly widely respected and previously served as the deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Al Jazeera reports he is expected to focus on fixing Sudan's chronic financial crisis that played a major role in the anti-government protests that culminated in the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir in April.
The power-sharing agreement inspired widespread celebration in Sudan in recent weeks, but the country's citizens do not plan on sitting idly. "If this council does not meet our aspirations and cannot serve our interests, we will never hesitate to have another revolution," Ramzi al-Taqi, a fruit seller in Khartoum, told Agence France-Presse. "We would topple the council just like we did the former regime." Tim O'Donnell