SUDAN CRISIS

Sudan dissolves former ruling party of al-Bashir

Bashir seized power in a 1989 coup and ruled until he was overthrown in April.

In Summary

• Dissolving Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) means that the authorities can seize the party's assets.

• Women were at the forefront of the movement that toppled Mr Bashir.

FILE PHOTO: Sudan's former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir sits inside a cage at the courthouse where he is facing corruption charges, in Khartoum, Sudan September 28, 2019.
FILE PHOTO: Sudan's former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir sits inside a cage at the courthouse where he is facing corruption charges, in Khartoum, Sudan September 28, 2019.
Image: REUTERS

A law has been passed in Sudan dissolving the party of ousted former president Omar al-Bashir.

Mr Bashir seized power in a 1989 coup and ruled for almost three decades until he was overthrown by a protest movement in April.

The country's transitional authorities also repealed a public order law that was used to police women's behavior.

Both measures responded to key demands of the protest movement, which aims to dismantle Mr Bashir's regime.

Sudan is currently led by a joint military and civilian council, as well as a civilian-led cabinet headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

What does this mean?

Dissolving Mr Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) means that the authorities can seize the party's assets. The decree confirmed that a committee would be formed to do this.

This, Mr Hamdok tweeted, is so they can "retrieve the stolen wealth of the people of Sudan".

The decree also said "none of the symbols of the regime or party would be allowed to engage in any political activity for 10 years".

A spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, the protest group that toppled al-Bashir, told the BBC this was "a historic moment".

"This is a moment of relief, because each and every person in Sudan has been affected in some way or the other by this regime in a negative manner," spokeswoman Samahir Mubarak said.

What other laws have been changed?

A controversial public order law that severely curtailed women's rights in Sudan was also repealed.

Activists said under the oppressive regulation, based on particularly harsh interpretations of Islamic Sharia law, women were arrested for attending private parties or wearing trousers.

Rights activists say thousands of women were arrested and flogged for indecency every year, and laws were applied arbitrarily.

Prime Minister Hamdok tweeted: "The laws of public order and public morals were a tool of exploitation, humiliation, violation - violation of the rights of citizens, and a violation of the dignity of the people.

"I send a tribute to the young men and women of my country who have endured the horrors of the application of these laws."

On 25 November, Sudan held its first march in decades for the International Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women.

Women were at the forefront of the movement that toppled Mr Bashir.