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Sudan receives German foreign minister Heiko Maas on felicitation visit2 minutes read

The top German diplomat is expected to meet with the newly-appointed Prime Minister the head of Sudan’s ruling body

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Sudan receives German foreign minister Heiko Maas
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (C-L) arrives at Khartoum International Airport outside the Sudanese capital on September 3, 2019. (Photo by Ebrahim HAMID / AFP)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrived Tuesday in Sudan which is ushering in a long-awaited transition from decades of autocratic rule under ousted leader Omar al-Bashir.

The visit by Maas comes after Sudan swore in a new Prime Minister and a civilian-majority ruling body to steer the country through a three-year transitional period.

The steps toward transition are part a power-sharing deal signed on August 17 by an umbrella group that led months of protests against veteran leader Bashir, and the generals who seized power after ousting him.

“Sudan stands at a turning point of its history,” Maas said in a statement ahead of his visit.

The top German diplomat is expected to meet with the newly-appointed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the head of Sudan’s ruling body, general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Maas said he was looking forward to holding talks with representatives from the protest movement “to express my highest appreciation to them”.

Sudan receives German foreign minister Heiko Maas on felicitation visit
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (L) meets with Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Omar Dahab Fadel upon the former’s arrival at Khartoum International Airport outside the Sudanese capital on September 3, 2019. (Photo by Ebrahim HAMID / AFP)

“We want Sudan to be able to seize this historic chance and, after years of isolation, to receive the necessary support from the international community,” he added. 

Sudan has long suffered an isolated status especially due to its listing by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993.

The designation has damaged its economy and hampered foreign investment.

After his visit to Sudan, Maas is due to head to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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North Africa Politics

Mubarak given state funeral, Egypt declares 3-day national mourning

Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal, joined by soldiers, walked next to their father’s coffin at a huge mosque built by the army in a Cairo suburb where the funeral took place.

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Guards carry the coffin of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as they arrive at Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi Mosque, during his funeral east of Cairo, Egypt February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt on Wednesday held a military funeral in Cairo to bury its former president and strongman ruler, Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for 30 years until he was ousted in a 2011 popular uprising against corruption as part of the Arab Spring.

Egypt’s presidency and armed forces mourned the former air force officer as a hero for his role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. The presidency also declared three days of national mourning.

Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal, joined by soldiers, walked next to their father’s coffin at a huge mosque built by the army in a Cairo suburb where the funeral took place, a Reuters report said.

Mubarak died on Tuesday in intensive care weeks after undergoing surgery, leaving Egyptians divided over his legacy presiding over an era of stagnation and repression, which some nevertheless recall as more stable than the chaos that followed.

He was swept out of power as an early victim of the “Arab Spring” revolutions that swept the region in 2011. He spent many of the subsequent years in jail and military hospitals before being freed in 2017.

Egypt’s top military officials were expected to attend the funeral. Mubarak’s coffin was to be airlifted from the Field Marshall Tantawi mosque to the family burial grounds, state television reported.

Dozens of Mubarak supporters, some from his home village Kafr al-Meselha in the Nile Delta, gathered outside the mosque, where the military funeral will take place.

“I am happy that his pride was restored” after his removal, “and for the state’s appreciation for him after his death,” said Zeenat Touhami, a 35-year old woman from Cairo. “This is the history of 30 years, the farewell of 30 years”.

Mohamed Zaree, a human rights activist, said the present era of autocracy and economic hardship was worse than Mubarak’s.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power after leading the overthrow of Mubarak’s Islamist successor, Mohamed Mursi, has overseen a broad crackdown on dissent, which rights groups say is the most severe in recent memory.

“Mubarak’s era was painful (but) this era is much more difficult and painful in terms of freedoms and economic conditions,” Zaree said.

Many of the activists who helped organize mass protests which ousted Mubarak are now behind bars or live in exile abroad. Sisi’s supporters say a crackdown was needed to stabilize the country after the turmoil that followed 2011.

Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt in 2011, but was freed in 2017 after being cleared of those charges.

He was also convicted in 2015 along with his two sons of diverting public funds to upgrade family properties. They were sentenced to three years in jail.

Egyptian state and private newspapers ran front page pictures of Mubarak, while state TV showed excerpts of previous speeches.

This was a stark contrast to the treatment of his successor, Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, who lasted only a year in office before the army toppled him. Mursi died last year after collapsing in court while on trial on espionage charges. Egyptian media, which are tightly controlled, paid little attention to his death.

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North Africa Politics

Egypt’s former longtime ruler, Hosni Mubarak dies at 91

Mubarak’s family was still at the hospital and told journalists that the Egyptian presidential office would organise the former President’s funeral.

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Former Egyptian military ruler and president, Hosni Mubarak./Google


Egypt’s former longtime president, Hosni Mubarak died Tuesday at age 91 at Cairo’s Galaa military hospital, his brother-in-law General Mounir Thabet told journalists.

Thabet, a former high-ranking military official, confirmed the family was still at the hospital and said the Egyptian presidential office would organise the funeral, an AFP report said.

Mubarak was in power from 1981 until he was overthrown in 2011 amid the region’s Arab Spring protests.

– Mubarak: A tough Egyptian General –

Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak born May 4, 1928 was an Egyptian military and political leader who served as the fourth president of Egypt from 1981 to 2011.

Before he entered politics, Mubarak was a career officer in the Egyptian Air Force. He served as its commander from 1972 to 1975 and rose to the rank of air chief marshal in 1973. 

Some time in the 1950s, he returned to the Air Force Academy as an instructor, remaining there until early 1959. He assumed presidency after the assassination of Anwar Sadat.

Mubarak’s presidency lasted almost thirty years, making him Egypt’s longest-serving ruler since Muhammad Ali Pasha, who ruled the country from 1805 to 1848, a reign of 43 years.

Mubarak stepped down after 18 days of demonstrations during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. 

On 11 February 2011, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak had resigned as president and transferred authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

On 13 April 2011, a prosecutor ordered Mubarak and both of his sons (Alaa and Gamal) to be detained for 15 days of questioning about allegations of corruption and abuse of power.

Mubarak was then ordered to stand trial on charges of negligence for failing to halt the killing of peaceful protesters during the revolution. These trials began on 3 August 2011.

On 2 June 2012, an Egyptian court sentenced Mubarak to life imprisonment. After sentencing, he was reported to have suffered a series of health crises. On 13 January 2013, Egypt’s Court of Cassation (the nation’s high court of appeal) overturned Mubarak’s sentence and ordered a retrial, his Wikipedia entry said.

On retrial, Mubarak and his sons were convicted on 9 May 2015 of corruption and given prison sentences. Mubarak was detained in a military hospital and his sons were freed 12 October 2015 by a Cairo court. 

He was acquitted on 2 March 2017 by the Court of Cassation and released on 24 March 2017.

He died on 25 February 2020.

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Algerian protest leader charged to court for inciting citizens

Boumala, a former state TV journalist who in 2011 co-founded an opposition group, was arrested in September and detained pending trial.

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Fodil Boumala is a leading figure in the country's protest movement/Google

An Algerian prosecutor is seeking a year’s prison sentence for Fodil Boumala, a leading figure in the country’s protest movement, an advocacy group said Monday.

Boumala, a former state TV journalist who in 2011 co-founded an opposition group, was arrested in September and detained pending trial.

Prisoners’ rights group CNLD said Boumala appeared for 16 hours in an Algiers court, with lawyers from the defence wrapping up their pleas early Monday.

The group said Boumala was charged with “undermining (national) territorial integrity”, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and the “distribution of publications that could undermine the national interest”, which can attract a year in prison.

The verdict was delayed until March 1.

Mass protests erupted in Algeria on February 22 last year, in response to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announcing he intended a run for a fifth term after 20 years in power — despite being debilitated by a 2013 stroke. 

Less than six weeks later, he stepped down after losing the support of the then-army chief in the face of enormous weekly demonstrations.

The arrests of protesters increased from June as the army toughened its line on the demonstrations, which have continued despite Bouteflika’s exit from the political scene and the election of a new president in December.

In early February the CNLD prisoners’ rights group said 142 members of the protest movement, known as the “Hirak”, were still in preventive detention.

Thousands of Algerians took to the streets of the capital on Friday and Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the protest movement.

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