Sudanese protesters sentenced to six months in jail

Demonstrators in Sudan demanding President Omar al-Bashir to resign (Getty Images)

A Sudanese court sentenced six protesters to six months in jail for violating a state of emergency imposed to quell anti-government protests.

Sudan’s police spokesman confirmed that the six were sentenced by an emergency court in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman after they were accused of causing disturbances. They were each fined $31.

President Omar al-Bashir imposed a state of emergency on February 22 to end widespread demonstrations that erupted against his iron-fisted rule in December. Since then, authorities set up special emergency courts to investigate violations of the state of emergency.

Although Bashir had initially announced that any violations to the state of emergency would result in a jail term of up to 10 years, he recently issued an order that the maximum jail term for such violations would be six months.

Protests initially began on December 19 in response to a government decision to triple the price of bread. This was followed by nationwide demonstrations against Bashir’s rule spanning three decades.

They accused his administration of mismanaging the economy, resulting to soaring food prices as well as fuel and foreign currency shortages. The protesters were calling on Bashir to step down.

According to Sudanese officials, 21 people have died so far in protest related violence, although Human Rights Watch claims the figure could be as high as 51, including children and medics.