UNP on Arresting its President

National Umma Party


The Merits of the Arrest of

The President of the National Umma Party (NUP)

Imam Al Sadig Al Mahdi



  • On the 7th May 2014, the President of the National Umma Party(NUP) and the Imam of the Ansar, the largest religious group in Sudan, Imam Al Sadig Al Mahdi, delivered a keynote speech during a press conference at the NUP Headquarters (Dar Al Umma) in Omdurman. Imam Al Sadig addressed representatives of the media briefing them on some of the key outcomes of the party’s Central Committee meeting, held in early May 2014, plus the issue of the ongoing National Dialogue. Al Mahdi alsocovered two additional subjects; the situation in Darfur and the recently exposed corruption cases.

On Darfur, the Imam, stated that “the situation in Darfur in several areas has deteriorated back to the situation of 2004. Fighting, especially in the hands of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led to the burning of a large number of villages, a significant rise in IDPs fleeing from the destruction, the looting of properties,the rape of females and to the interference of non-Sudanese in the Sudanese affairs.That is all unacceptable and will backfire on the scene, similar to what happened in the past. We demand that installing security shall be exclusively at the hands of the regular forces, and demand the conduct of an urgent investigation about the committed abuses, and providing justice for the oppressed; otherwise, the International Community will seek to impose a wide network of accusations on the perpetrators). He echoed his past calls to stop the abuses and provide with accountability for the crimes committed in June 27th, 2004, when he warned from the intervention of the United Nations (UN) if the violations were not stopped and the perpetrators not held accountable. Indeed, what he predicted happened, and the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution no. 1593 referring the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

  • Evidence on the violations committed by the RSF in the Regions of Kordofan and Darfur, are well known and condemned by members of the civil society and human rights activists in Sudan, the international community, the international human rights organizations, and in fact, they have also been voiced by some government officials. The condemnation of such crimes is indeed part of the required advocacy campaign supportive to the victims; as well as calling for an end to the abuses and bringing justice and accountability for any violations committed.
  • On the 12th May 2014, National Intelligence and Security Service(NISS) filed a complaint against NUP’s President, under articles (62), (66) (69) and (159) of the Criminal Code of 1991. The articles claimed relate to: the incitement of general disgruntlement amongst members of the armed forces, publishing false news, breach of public peace and defamation. This was followed on the 17th May 2014 by two additional complaints under articles (63) and (50) of the Criminal Code which relate to:
  1. Article (50):undermining the Constitutional Order, a crime that can reach a penalty of execution.

2 . Article (63): calling for violent opposition or usage of criminal force.

  • The criminal complaints filed against Al Mahdi have been steered politically and maliciously through the media,prior to being legally handled by the authorities to the accused. For instance after about a week from the mentioned press conference and the Imam’s speech, on the eve of the 13th May 2014, several social networking and internet sites reported about a NISS complaint filed against the Imam. The following day, 14th May 2014 the majority of local newspapers carried its main headlines on a memo stamped by (the legal department of NISS) confirming that they have submitted an official complaint to the State Prosecution. I.e. media reports pitting public opinion preceded any legal steps. Actually Imam Al Sadig Al Mahdi did not receive notice of the complaint filed against him until the evening of 14th May 2014, when he was handled an official notice, requesting him to attend to the State Prosecutor office and give his official statement, at 11:00 am Thursday 15th May 2014.   At the State Prosecution Office in Khartoum, Sajjana, the Imam was interrogated with by officials supposedly from the prosecutor’s office, but actually they were NISS officers. They heard his statement which was the same to what he had stated at the press conference on 7th May 2014. He was then allowed to leave under personal guarantee.
  • After the return of Al-Mahdi from the prosecutor’s office, a number of media representatives were gathering in his residence, they enquired about what happened, and he provided them with a summary of the interrogation happenings, and added the following clarifications:
  • He will not state his opinion based on a knee jerk reaction to what has happened to him, and will refrain from any statement until his partystudy the situation carefully and issue an official statement.
  • Referring to the statements by the Governor of Northern Kordofan and the Head of the Bedeiria tribe in condemnation of the RSF, he assured that he will not retreat from his statement, but rather is calling upon all political forces andthe civil society to condemn the actions of the RSF.
  • He said that according to the interim constitution,NISS has no entitlement whatsoever in forming combat forces and so forming them is a constitutional violation.
  • He demanded a fair, just and public trial as this will be a means to unveil the truth that he has not violated the law but it is NISS which have, in fact, violated the constitution.
  • He also showed the nullity of any allegations that his intentions were to incite and disgruntle the international community against the country and confirmed that the international community is already provoked against the Government of Sudan (GoS), and that his role has been to try to reach to a solution that will not topple the country’s stability.
  • He also stressed that he wished to exonerate the armed forces from the atrocities committed by the unrestrained forces.


Al Mahdi also repeated a similar statement during his visit to the Wali village in the Gezira State on the 17th May 2014, stressing the need for NISS to be disciplined according to the constitution.


  • On the evening of Saturday 17th May 2014 at 20:45 local time, the Sudanese Regime through its NISS officially arrested Imam Al Sadiq Al Mahdi after his return from the Gezira State. He was taken to Kober main prison. This is beyond doubt a political arrest. Whether this was to obstruct dialogue, orbecause the Regime can no longer tolerate NUP’s President’s criticism of its continued unjust policies and practices,or for any other political reason, the Regime has apparently decided to silence the voice of the Imam Al Sadig Al Mahdi and obscure him from the political scene. Hence, they have added fabricated criminal charges to justify his arrest through articles (50) and (63) of the Criminal Code. Article (50) was added because, according to the Criminal Procedures’Act, it authorizes the Prosecution to imprison the accused person until the end of the court proceedings. These charges of undermining the constitutional order and the incitement of opposition through the use of violence or criminal force are with no doubt entirely contradicting to all what Imam Al Sadig continued to advocate. Through this unjust imprisonment, the Sudanese regime has silenced one of the strongest voices calling for dialogue and political solution as the best road towards ending the country’s crises.

Hence, the NUP decision taken by its Supreme Coordination Council on the evening of 17th May 2014, which was endorsed by the NUP Political Bureau on the 24th May 2014, to suspend any participation in the National Dialogue with the regime, came as a natural development. The Democratic East Front also withdrew from the Dialogue table.Meanwhile, other political parties that have accepted the call for National Dialogue have expressed their refusal of Al Mahdi’s arrest, whilst the parties abstaining from dialogue found that move as tangible evidence for the validity of their analysis that this regime cannot be trusted and is not serous in its call for dialogue.


  • The aforementioned merits confirm the maliciousness of the case. Moreover, the regime has manipulated many quarters to incite against Imam Al Sadig al- Mahdi. In a parliamentary session held in Wednesday 14th May 2014, voices within the legislative authority demanded that the Imam be branded with Treason and other serious charges. This campaign was orchestrated by the parliament speaker and most of the influential figures within the regime played part in it. In a press conference convened by NISS on the 14th May 2014, the field commander of the RSF referred to the case threatening all who dare to defame them, and vowed adamantly with doom and destruction, using unfamiliar language to any regular or paramilitary force.All this without taking into consideration that the case is already under judicial review,and that might jeopardize Imam Al-Sadig’s right for a just trial, free from influences from the official authorities and others. Indeed, such deeds are ominous, since they agitate emotions, fillhearts with hatred and create hostile atmosphere.
  • Imam Al Sadiq Al Mahdi is above seventy years in age, thus arresting and subjecting him to charges that may lead to the death penalty violates the constitution,which prohibits a death sentence for those older than 70 years, unless a person has committed murder. Also the law prohibits imprisoning any person after the age of 70 years unless being condemned of banditry.  There is no legal justification for the continuing of Imam Al Sadig Al Mahdi’s detention; however,it is a clear indication of the malicious campaign against him, and the absolute absence of the rule of law in Sudan.


Positions of Imam Al-SadiqAl-Mahdi towards installing Peace and Democracy:

  • ImamAl-SadiqAl-Mahdi is a renowned Sudanese figure, who earned his Peoples’ trust during two democratic reigns. He was chosen by the Institute of Objective Studies in India amongst the “100 Greatest Muslim Leaders in the 20th century”, he is a Gusi Peace Prize Laureateof the year 2013, the elected Chairman of the International Forum for Islamic Moderation, the Chairman of the Council of Elders of the Arab Hulf for resolving disputes in the Arab World, he was honored for his efforts in defending human rights and democracy by many organizations and is a member of many institutions and initiatives seeking peaceful resolution of conflicts or calling for democracy in the world; such as: Club De Madrid and the Network of Arab Democrats. Indicting him with the above mentioned charges is absolutely absurd. Rather than that, and because of his hyper enthusiasm towards the peaceful and negotiated solutions’ approach, he was accused of a Regime sellout by some; that is, because many people actually questioned the Regime’s credibility and considered its calls for negotiations as mere PR tactics to buy time. With this hostile act, the Regime has silenced one of its most reasonable opposition figures and undermined the entire aspired for project of political and negotiated settlement. With the absurdityof the charges it faked, the Regime has subjected itself to be judged against by all legal activists inside and outside Sudan.  It also subjected itself for condemnations from the entire human rights organisations inside and outside Sudan.
  • ImamAl-SadiqAl-Mahdi’s position, in expressing his party’s political goals and stance calling for installing peace and democracy through civil means, is steadfast, he never backed down from it nor did he ever say otherwise, even after the oppressive summoning which he suffered recently. He repeatedly announced that the political solution to Sudan’s crises is a principal position he advocates as a strategy not affected by reactions. He continued to express this position for years ago. On Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 the President of the Republic visited NUP’s President at his residence in Almulazimin. They issued a common communiqueafterwards asserting that governance, permanent constitution and the peace process in Sudan should be national, i.e. no one should be excluded, and that nobody should control it. When the President declared his initiative on National Dialogue on 27thJanuary 2014, the President ofNUP was the first and most important leader to have endorsed it.
  • When Mr. Roelf Meyer, representing the erstwhile ruling National Party of South Africa during the apartheid in the CODESA dialogue process, visited Sudan on the invitation of his embassy; Sayed Al-Sadig Al-Mahdi invited him at his residence on May 14, 2014, along with representatives of political and civil forces and the media, so that he can elucidate to them the details of the South African experience. Al-Mahdi gave a lecture in which he assured the eventuality of a peaceful negotiated solution along the lines of the CODESA, explaining that many internal and external factors are pushing towards its direction. He mentioned the positions of those who tried to obstruct the dialogue in South Africa in various means, but their efforts came to no avail. Adding that, because he is the most zealous person amongst political leaders in Sudan for dialogue, he is being subjected to some bullying such as the criminal charges filed against him in order to hamper it.
  • Yes Imam Al-SadigAl-Mahdi has criticized the mal practices of the RSF and demanded an investigation to reveal facts. Furthermore, he showed sympathy towards the individuals relating to these forces as they might be subjected to international questioning as happened before. These practices were condemned by many. Any fair trial will emphasise the facts spread about them in Sudan. The accusation that Al-Mahdi is calling for the subversion of the Sudanese regime through violence isa paly unbelievable even by its authors.
  • The incumbent ruling Regime in Sudan and its leadership are accused by the ICC, the Regime is internationally isolated due to its incessant human rights and its meddling in others affairs, it is considered a threat to the International Peace and Security and thus condemned many times by the UNSC resolutions under chapter VII of the UN Charter, and condemned by local and international human rights organisations. As for the national organisations, the Regime intimidates them by closing down,writing-off the record, refusing to renew their registration and/or other taming tactics. As for the international organisations they are banned from coming to Sudan.

With this latest offence of detaining Sayed Al-SadigAl-Mahdi, the most prominent symbol of nonviolence and peaceful resolution in Sudan, the Regime is only adding to its condemnations and local and international isolation.


Needs to be done:

Having said the above and in conclusion, we in the NUP Sudan repeat our appeals for Sudan Civil society, the regional and international community to play an active role in pressurizing GoSto:

  • Immediately release Imam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, and drop the malicious charges against him and the release of other prisoners of conscience in the Regime’s prisons.
  • Conduct a professional, impartial, fair and transparent inquiry about the conduct of the RSF, and perform the required accountability and fairness measures in case of finding any violations.
  • Provision of Public freedoms, and nullify all legal juries restricting freedoms and/or contradicting the Bill of Rights stipulated in the Interim Constitution of 2005, especially the National Security Forces Act of 2009; and immediately begin a process of legal reform, with a national character, by a national consensus mechanism.


Emphasizing upon the importance of these demands, so as to stop the country’s current rolling towards the abyss of violence, chaos and disruption, we call upon all human rights defenders, inside and outside the country, to constantly pressure until these demands are achieved.


National Umma Party

19th May, 2014