Sudan court sends senior officers to prison over failed coup
CAIRO (AP) — A Sudanese military court on Monday sentenced a former chief of staff to nine years in prison and five senior officers to five years each after they were convicted of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2019, two military officials said.
The case dates back to July 2019, three months after the military overthrew Sudan’s longtime autocrat, President Omar al-Bashir, amid a popular uprising against his Islamist-backed rule. Sudan’s now-ruling military says the failed attempt sought to sabotage a power-sharing deal between the generals and the pro-democracy movement that led the uprising.
However, a military coup last October did away with the power-sharing and upended Sudan’s fragile democratic transition, which has also faced uphill security and economic challenges since al-Bashir’s ouster.
The top officer sentenced Monday by the court in the capital of Khartoum was Gen. Hashem Abdel-Muttalib Babakr. Three years ago, he was named chief of staff by the transitional military council that seized power after al-Bashir’s ouster.
Two military officials told The Associated Press that the military court also downgraded Babakar to lieutenant general, his previous rank. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case with reporters.
The five other officers convicted of the coup attempt — three major generals, a brigadier and a lieutenant colonel — were working for the military and the national intelligence and security services, said the two officials. All of them were arrested at the time of the attempt, the two added.
The court also dismissed two other generals, including a former deputy commander of Sudan’s Air Force, from service and acquitted three officers, according to the officials.
Local media outlets also reported the sentences. Monte Carro news website quoted the officers defense lawyer, Hashem Abu Baker, as saying that Monday’s verdicts still need to be confirmed by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the military.
Separately, thousands of Sudanese took to the streets again on Monday to denounce the October coup. Protesters marched in Khartoum and other cities, including Atbara in the north — the birthplace of the uprising against al-Bashir, according to the Sudanese Professionals’ Association.
The demonstrators also denounced dire living conditions that further deteriorated after the military rulers last week floated the local currency. The floatation caused sharp hikes in prices of basic commodities and the Sudanese pound, the national currency, nosedived.