A court in Sudan has quashed the prison sentences handed down eight anti-government protesters last week, ordering their immediate release from custody.
The eight were given jail terms of up to five years by the emergency courts introduced by President Omar al-Bashir to crack down of the protests demanding an end to his rule.
“The appeals court dismissed the charges against these people who had been sentenced on February 28,” defence lawyer Enaam Atieg is quoted by the AFP as saying.
“The appeals court has ordered their release,” Atieg who’s a member of a lawyers’ association that is part of an umbrella group spearheading protests against Bashir’s rule added.
The court has ordered the eight to pay fines.
Bashir hold on to power
Mr. Bashir declared a national state of emergency last month as pressure mounts on him to exit power.
In a televised address following months of protests calling for his exit, he announced the dismissal of the federal government and the sacking of all state governors.
Mr Bashir has now appointed members of the security forces to replace the governors.
He has always vowed to continue as President, saying he would not be stampeded into leaving office by the ongoing protest.
Bashir has also said that “There’s only one road to power and that is through the ballot box. The Sudanese people will decide in 2020 who will govern them.”
He already has plans to run for the presidency for the third time in elections to be held in 2020.
How the protests started?
The protests were triggered after bread prices increased from one Sudanese pound ($0.02) to three Sudanese pounds ($0.063).
Bread prices in Sudan are said to be astronomically higher as a result of the country’s economic challenges.
The prices of bread have more than tripled since the start of last year. It was caused by the government decision to stop importing wheat from overseas.
Bashir came to power in 1989 when he led a group of officers in a military coup that ousted a democratically elected government.