Sudan president pardons jailed rights activist

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has pardoned and released a prominent human rights activist who was jailed last year on accusations of spying among other charges, Reuters reports his family to say.

Mudawi Ibrahim Adam’s release comes following a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump’s aid administrator to Sudan, and before an October deadline when the administration will decide whether to permanently lift 20-year-old sanctions.

Reuters also quotes Adam’s wife to confirm that he is in good health following the prison stint.

“He is home after a presidential amnesty and he seems in good health,” she said.

International rights groups had often called for the release of Ibrahim Adam, who they said had faced the death penalty on false charges since his arrest in December.

USAID chief Mark Green had met with Sudanese authorities this week as part of a fact-finding mission to assess whether Khartoum was meeting conditions to lift sanctions on Sudan.

Earlier this week, Sudanese foreign minister said his country, which has been under U.S. sanctions for about 20 years, is looking forward to the restoration of normal ties soon.

“On our side we look forward for a normalization of our relations with an important country – the important country in the world – the U.S.,” FM Ibrahim Ghandour said.

U.S. officials said limited steps to ease sanctions are meant to recognize progress in Sudan, particularly moves to reduce internal conflict and increase cooperation with Washington in the war against terrorism.