Verdict against Youthful Musicians in Sudan stirs controversy

CAIRO — A Sudanese court’s choice to send five young musicians to prison has stirred controversy in Sudan and overseas, together with activists and rights groups calling for judicial reforms after the past year’s pro-democracy uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

The artists — famous because they supported the uprising — were detained and sentenced Thursday to two weeks in prison on behalf of public interference and violating public security measures by a criminal court in the capital, Khartoum, their attorney Othman al-Barry explained.

The artists were fined 5,000 Sudanese pounds ($90) each, ” the attorney said.

One of the jailed musicians is award-winning filmmaker Hajooj Kuka, whose movies” Beats of those Antonov” and”aKasha” were exhibited in the Venice and Toronto film festivals.

“The judiciary system is still heavily affected by the militant Islamist ideology of this ex-regime, which criminalized liberty of association and artwork and jeopardized the presence of girls in the public world,” stated the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, or even SIHA.

Sudan continues to be on a delicate path to democracy because the popular uprising directed the army to overthrow al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government currently rules the nation, with elections potential in overdue 2022.

The judgment has also caught the attention of movie professionals worldwide, a lot of whom delivered an open letter to the authorities calling for its artists’ release.

… Now he has been jailed in Sudan. We will need to generate some noise about it.”

The case dates back to August when a group of musicians had been rehearsing with the Civic Lab artistic team in Khartoum. Neighbors complained about the sound, along with the event organizers reduced the quantity, but the neighbors didn’t leave and proceeded to yell at them, based on al-Barry, the attorney.

Among those neighbors attacked Duaa Tarig, an office and artist director for Civic Lab, while others began beating the staff and artists in addition to throwing stones in them, al-Barry explained.

Police forces detained eleven artists such as Tarig, that has accused an investigator of slapping her till she fainted after she took place with him photographing her along with his telephone, their attorney said. The remaining half are awaiting their trial on similar charges Thursday, he explained.

While in detention, the artists whined and chanted slogans like people they had used throughout the uprising, according to a 30-second video shared online.

SIHA, the women’s rights NGO, accused police of managing the situation at a”biased and politicized environment” It stated Tarig’s efforts to submit a complaint against the investigator that allegedly attacked her were denied a few times. The team called for their immediate release.

A government spokesman didn’t respond to telephone calls from The Associated Press on Sunday seeking comment. Sudan’s Youth and Sports Minister Walaa al-Boushi seen the unsigned artists on Saturday to demonstrate solidarity together.