Washington Bans US Entry of Former Sudanese Official Over Torture Claims
The U.S. claimed it has “credible information” that a former Sudanese security official was involved in torture during his term as the nation’s security chief.
The American administration announced on Wednesday it was banning the entry of a former Sudanese security chief into the U.S., over what Washington says was the chief’s involvement in the torture of Sudanese protesters.
Washington’s decision denied the entry of Salah Ghosh, the former head of Sudan’s feared security outfit the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and his family, including his wife and daughter into the United States
Ghosh was accused by Washington of torturing civilian protesters during his reign as head of the NISS. Ghosh had worked on and off at the NISS since 1989 when a coup first brought the recently-deposed Omar al-Bashir to power.
Ghosh’s initial reign as chief of the NISS ended in 2009 when he was accused of plotting his own coup against al-Bashir. Ghosh, however, was ultimately pardoned and reappointed by al-Bashir as head of the security service in February of 2018.
The NISS under Ghosh became a powerful and feared agency which often cracked down on government opponents and media.
In 2019 popular unrest in Sudan against worsened economic conditions across the Arab African country lead to the ousting of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the end of his 30-year-long reign as President. Only two days after Sudan’s military toppled President al-Bashir in April, Ghosh resigned as head of the NISS.
Accusations of Torture and Killing
Since December of 2018 Sudan has lived through mass demonstrations in protest of the soaring prices of goods and commodities as well as inflation. The protests pushed the Sudanese army to overthrow the authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir who had remained in power for more than three decades. However, the protests turned bloody as the Sudanese military council which assumed power in al-Bashir’s absence opened fire on protestors.
The violence resulted in widespread condemnation of Sudan’s military and fears that Sudan would become a military dictatorship. Last April, Amnesty International released a statement calling for the investigation of Ghosh into his role in the violent suppression of protestors during the 2019 uprising.
“It is crucial that Sudan’s new authorities investigate Salah Gosh’s role in the killings of scores of Sudanese protesters over the past four months as well as allegations of torture, arbitrary detention and other human rights violations under his supervision of Sudan’s NISS. Resignation from power must not mean an escape from accountability for serious human rights violations,” said Amnesty International in the statement.
“The new authorities in Sudan must address past human rights violations and undertake desperately needed reforms to ensure that there can be no repeat of the heinous crimes under international law the country has witnessed over the past three decades.
“Sudan’s new authorities must also urgently declare the whereabouts of former President Omar al-Bashir and immediately hand him over to the International Criminal Court to ensure justice can be served for the atrocities committed during his three decades in power,” Amnesty International added.
According to the Kenyan-based Daily Nation, Sudanese prosecutors said they attempted, unsuccessfully, to arrest Ghosh last May.
Commenting on the decision to ban the entry of Ghosh and his family, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that his department “has credible information that Salah Ghosh was involved in torture during his tenure as chief of NISS.”
The U.S. high-ranking official further noted that Washington supported the Sudanese people as they transitioned away from the reign of al-Bashir.
“We join the Sudanese people in their call for a transitional government that is truly civilian-led and differs fundamentally from the Bashir regime, particularly on the protection of human rights,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Sudan Transitions to New Government
Earlier this month, Sudan’s transitional military council and civilian opposition leaders signed a power-sharing deal in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. The deal allows the country’s rivals to rule Sudan for a transitional period of three years to be followed by general elections.
The newly signed agreement stipulated the transitional period would be governed by a joint military-civilian sovereign council that will rule the country by means of a rotation of power. A total of six civilians and five individuals from the military will share in ruling the country, with the military taking the reigns for a period of 21 months, followed by an 18-month civilian-led administration.