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Sudan prosecutors charge ousted President Bashir in connection with killings of protesters

Sudan prosecutors charge ousted President Bashir in connection with killings of protesters
Sudanese protesters gather during a demonstration in the capital, Khartoum, on May 13. (Ebrahim Hamid / AFP/Getty Images)

Sudanese prosecutors have charged ousted President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir with involvement in killing protesters and incitement to kill protesters during the uprising that drove him from power last month, the state-run Sudan News Agency reported Monday.

It was not immediately clear what punishment he might face. Protest organizers say security forces killed about 100 demonstrators during the four months of rallies leading to Bashir’s overthrow.

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The transitional military council ruling Sudan has said Bashir will face justice in the country and will not be extradited to The Hague, where the International Criminal Court has charged him with war crimes and genocide linked to the Darfur conflict in the 2000s.

Bashir, who was the only sitting head of state to be subject to an international arrest warrant, was imprisoned in the capital, Khartoum, days after the military removed him from power.

The military ousted Bashir on April 11, but the demonstrators have remained in the streets, demanding the dismantling of his government and a swift transition to civilian rule. In recent weeks they have threatened a general strike and civil disobedience.

The protesters resumed negotiations with the army on Monday while calling for more demonstrations.

Lt. Gen. Shams Deen Kabashi, a spokesman for the military council, said Monday’s meeting, the first in over a week, was held “in a more optimistic atmosphere.”

The protesters are represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the Sudanese Professionals Assn., which has spearheaded the protests since December.

Kabashi said they agreed on the creation of a sovereign council, a Cabinet and a legislative body that would govern the country during the transition. He said they will discuss the makeup of the three bodies and the duration of the transition on Tuesday.

The two sides remain divided over what role the military, which is dominated by Bashir appointees, should have in the transition period until elections can be held. The military wants to play a leading role in a transition lasting up to two years, while the protesters have demanded an immediate transition to a civilian-led authority that would govern for four years.

The protesters fear the army will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed Bashir. They also worry that Islamists and other factions close to the deposed leader will be granted a role in the transition.

The military agreed last month to recognize the the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change as the uprising’s only legitimate representative in a victory for the protesters. But the generals have called for other political parties — with the exception of Bashir’s National Congress Party — to be included in the transition.

The opposition has vowed to continue protests, centered on a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum. It has called for a series of nationwide protests, including another march to the main sit-in, for the coming week.

Video circulating online Monday showed protesters blocking roads in Khartoum with burning tires and trees. Other video showed men from the Rapid Support Forces forcibly dispersing protesters. The paramilitary group, which has led counterinsurgency campaigns in Darfur and other regions, is led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council.

The Sudanese Professionals Assn. said the road closures were in response to the military council’s delay in handing over power to civilians.

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