Khartoum - Tyres burned and shouts for "freedom"
filled the air in a Sudanese town on Sunday night during renewed
anti-government demonstrations, witnesses said, while authorities freed some
people arrested after earlier protests.
President Omar al-Bashir ordered the release of female detainees,
and a judge in Khartoum threw out charges against 19 people who were among
hundreds rounded up after deadly protests sparked by fuel price hikes in late
September, a lawyer said.
The latest demonstrations occurred in various parts of
Sinnar town, an agricultural centre about 250km southeast of Khartoum,
witnesses said, adding that police fired tear gas.
Up to 300 demonstrators also called for freedom and justice
in Shambat, a poor district of North Khartoum, another witness said.
Shambat has been the scene of several demonstrations since 23
September, when the government cut fuel subsidies, sending thousands into the
streets in the worst urban unrest of Bashir's 24-year rule.
State radio reported on Sunday night that Bashir ordered the
release of "all the women arrested except those accused of a crime".
The husband of social media activist Dalia El Roubi told AFP
that she was among those freed.
Roubi, who works for the World Bank in Khartoum, had been
held for seven days by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
Abdelrahman Elmahdi, her husband, said there had been
"no abuse, no violence" against her.
Fellow activist Rayan Shaker, who was arrested with Roubi,
was also freed without charge, Elmahdi said.
Amal Habani, a journalist with Al-Khartoum newspaper, was
released as well, her husband Shaugi Abdelazim told AFP.
"She is in good condition," he said.
In the Khartoum district of Haj Yousef, a judge found "no
evidence" against the 19 people accused of vandalism and causing a
disturbance, one of their lawyers, Mutasim al-Haj, told AFP.
They were among 35 people brought before the Haj Yousef
court over the alleged unrest.
Trials are to continue for the other 16 with defence
testimony on Monday, Haj said.
A police pickup truck was the only noticeable security
presence outside the colonnaded, glass-fronted court building which lies
opposite mud-brick homes on a red dirt road in the impoverished district.
The 35 first appeared in court on Thursday, when Haj told
AFP that none of the accused was arrested during the alleged vandalism or
They faced up to seven years in prison if found guilty, he
Sudan's government says it has detained about 700
"criminals" after the late-September protests.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, a human
rights watchdog, said on Saturday that more than 800 people had been arrested
throughout the country by police and the NISS.
The prisoners include political activists, opposition party
members and human rights defenders, the watchdog said, adding that the exact
number of detentions was unknown.
"The majority of detainees are in NISS custody and have
not been charged with any criminal offence," the African Centre for
Justice and Peace Studies said.
Security forces were believed to have killed more than 200
protesters, many of whom were shot in the head or chest, Amnesty International
Among the casualties was a 14-year-old boy, rights groups
Authorities have reported 34 deaths from the unrest.
The government said it had to intervene when crowds turned
violent, attacking petrol stations and police.
At the trials in Haj Yousef, a police witness testified that
officers had orders to only fire in the air, Haj said.
"They didn't order us to shoot the demonstrators,"
he quoted the officer as saying.