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Sudan: Government arrests university professors - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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File photo—Sudanese anti-government protesters use their smart phones to film and photograph a demonstration in defiance of a government crackdown on news outlets in Khartoum, Sudan on September 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

File photo—Sudanese anti-government protesters use their smart phones to film and photograph a demonstration in defiance of a government crackdown on news outlets in Khartoum, Sudan on September 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

Khartoum, Asharq Al-Awsat—Seven Sudanese university professors were arrested and taken to an unknown destination during a meeting they held in Professor Mahdi Amin Al-Tom’s house in Omdurman on Monday.

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, university professor and the head of the anti-regime Umma National Party Sara Naqdallah said that she was supposed to attend the meeting but was delayed due to an emergency.

According to Naqdallah, the Monday meeting was held by the preliminary committee of the “Sudan’s University Professors Assembly,” a national group aimed at achieving justice, promoting freedoms, supporting democracy and the development of the academic field in the country.

Naqdallah told Asharq Al-Awsat that the authorities arrested, in a surprise swoop, each of Mahdi Amin Al-Tom, Balqis Badri, Abdul Al Qureishan, Hisham Omar Al-Nour, Hadia Hassaballah, Shahla Babakr and Suleimi Al-Sharif.

Naqdallah condemned the arrest and called for her colleagues’ immediate release saying that the assembly will convene to discuss ways to fight the government’s security campaign against the members.

According to Naqdallah, most of the professors who have been arrested are in poor health conditions, with some suffering from chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Meanwhile, several protesters who were arrested during the public unrest last month have been released.

Some Sudanese newspapers quoted a media official saying that the decision came under President Omar Al-Bashir’s instructions. In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, a member of Sudan’s human rights council Sati’ Ahmad Al-Haj said that his organization has recorded 111 arrests during the recent uprising, with only 50 having been released so far.

Among those released is a member of the Change Now Movement Amjad Fareed and the spokesman for the Ba’ath Party Mohamed Amin, as well as other political activists in the country.

In another development from Sudan, 33 protesters faced trial on Tuesday on charges of causing public nuance, breaching public safety, theft and looting.

As a part of a media crackdown, Sudanese authorities ordered the suspension of ‘Salat Al-Tahrir’ (Lounge of Liberation), a show broadcast by Omdurman Satellite Channel.

The decision came following the appearance of a member of the National Congress Party Gazi Salahuldin who was reported to have lambasted the ruling party in this week’s episode of the show.

The host of the show Abdulbaqi Al-Zafer told Asharq Al-Awsat that following Monday’s episode, the government ordered the owner of the channel not to rerun the episode and to prevent him from appearing on the show again.