Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International have welcomed the news that President Omar Al Bashir ordered the release of all political prisoners in Sudan, however the detentions should never have occurred in the first place, they said.
On Tuesday, Al Bashir issued a presidential decree, ordering the release of all political detainees in the country.
In a statement on the same day, HRW considered the order “a grim reminder of a defining feature of Sudan’s political landscape: the periodic mass arrest and detention of opposition leaders to silence them whenever they threaten to speak out.
“Whatever his motivations, Al Bashir does not deserve congratulations,” the human rights organisation said. “The release of political detainees is not a gift or a political concession, but a basic obligation of respect for fundamental principles of human rights and rule of law.”
Amnesty International welcomed the release of “at least 56 opposition activists” in a press statement on Wednesday. They spent up to 84 days in arbitrary detention for protesting against the escalating costs of food and healthcare.
After the government implemented a series of austerity measures in early January, hundreds of opposition leaders and activists were detained, mainly in the capital Khartoum, without charge or access to lawyers.