Sudan state of emergency cut to six months

Sudan’s parliament voted to shorten from a year to six months a state of emergency declared by President Omar al-Bashir last month in response to widespread protests. Parliament can renew the measure.

Bashir declared the nationwide state of emergency, the first since 1999, on February 22 to quell demonstrations posing a serious challenge to his three-decade rule.

Parliament deputy speaker Ahmed Attijani said some lawmakers objected to the state of emergency because of its implications for freedoms, particularly given Sudan is due to hold a presidential election next year.

The state of emergency gives security services expanded powers to search buildings, restrict movement of people and public transport, arrest suspects and seize assets or property during investigations.

In the days after its imposition, Bashir announced other measures, including setting up emergency courts and prosecutors across the country. Activists say more than 800 people have been tried in the courts.