Sudan’s president orders release of all political prisoners

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir ordered the immediate release of all political prisoners on Tuesday as part of national dialogue efforts, the state news agency said.

The report carried by SUNA did not say how many individuals would be released, but said the move came in the spirit of “reconciliation, national harmony and peace.”

It said the release “opens the door to participation of all political forces” to discuss the country’s issues.

Opposition figures in Sudan are regularly detained, and parties who opposes al-Bashir face numerous state obstacles.

Sudan is grappling with a currency crisis and hyperinflation that has stoked discontent, although public demonstrations are effectively banned and regularly quashed by security forces.

Protests erupted in Khartoum and other parts of the country in January after the government slashed subsidies and devalued the local currency, measures aimed at strengthening the battered economy. Hundreds of people were detained in those and subsequent protests, though some were later released.

The International Criminal Court has accused al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur during fighting since 2003.