KHARTOUM 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.
A judicial 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 without legal grounds.
He said the probe partly related to millions of dollars worth of cash in U.S. dollars, euros and Sudanese pounds that were found in al-Bashir’s home a week after his ouster.
A spokesman with the military’s media office confirmed that this is the first time the former president was taken out from his prison in Khartoum.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about ongoing investigations.
Al-Arabiya television footage showed al-Bashir wearing a traditional white robe and turban, as he was led to a Toyota Land Cruiser.
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, but the military has said it would not extradite him to The Hague. He was the only sitting head of state for whom an international arrest warrant has been issued.
Meanwhile, the deputy head of Sudan’s ruling military council said on Sunday that demands from protester leaders for the composition of a transitional legislative body might not be acceptable.
After removing al-Bashir from power, the military has been locked in a tense standoff with a protest movement over who should lead the country’s transition.
Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo told a gathering of pro-military supporters in the capital on Sunday that our problem is a non-elected legislative body which would root out all of us.”
He said that a legislative body formed with a majority from protest movement leaders, who are demanding civilian rule, is a problem because it is not formed by elections.
This would suggest a reversal to previous deals between the military and protest leaders, which included a three-year transition period, a Cabinet appointed by the protester leaders, and a legislative body with a civilian majority.
Source: Voice of America