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Sudan bans newspapers, TV stations over links to Al-Bashir

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Four media houses have been banned in the latest transitional government-instigated reforms as Sudan fights the ghosts of Omar Al-Bashir.

A technical committee established by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok revoked licenses for the stations over links to the ousted leader.

The stations, the committee claimed, received funding from the former regime under unclear circumstances, "which they cannot account for".

The ban covers the dailies Al-Sudani and Al-Ray Al-Am and satellite channels Ashrooq and Teeba along with their parent companies, according to committee member Taha Othman.

"These institutions were funded by the state and we want to return the money to the Sudanese people," said Mohamed al-Fekki, a member of Sudan's transitional ruling council.

Diaa al-Din Belal, Al-Sudani's editor-in-chief, denied receiving funds from Bashir's government.

"We operate under a private company and we did not receive any funds from a party or a government authority," he said.

In December, Bashir was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for corruption in the first of several cases against the ousted autocrat.

He was charged with illicitly receiving millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia. He's also facing charges for overthrowing the government in 1989.

Protests waged by civilians in 2019 forced the military to intervene, ousting the former strongman before sending him to jail.

Al-Bashir could also face murder charges over the death of dozens of demonstrators before his ouster in April 2019, local media reported.

During his regime, Khartoum was accused of mass murder, forceful deportation and basic very of human rights.

International Criminal Court issued a warrant of arrest against Al-Bashir over Darfur genocide but African nations failed to surrender him.

Hamdok is in the process of lobbying to have international sanctions against Sudan lifted, making his first stopover in Washington DC.

Already, Sudan has pledged to compensate victims of 1998 twin bombings at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Reuters reported.

The attack left 224 people dead. Al-Bashir was accused of hosting slain terrorist Osama Bin Laden before the deadly attacks.