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Sudan’s ex-president stands trial for corruption in Khartoum

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Sudan’s ex-president Omar Al-Bashir. [Photo: Internet]

Sudan’s former President Omar Al-Bashir, who ruled the country for 30 years, has arrived in a Khartoum court for the start of his trial on corruption charges.

The deposed leader faces charges related to “possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally”.

On Saturday, protest leaders and the military signed a final power-sharing deal, paving the way for a transition to a civilian-led government.

Al-Bashir seized power in a military coup on June 30, 1989, and stayed in office until April 11, 2019, when he was overthrown and arrested by the armed forces.

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His downfall was brought about by thousands of Sudanese from all walks of life who took to the streets for four months to demand an end to the 75-year-old’s rule.

Prosecutors have also opened other criminal investigations against Al-Bashir, including on charges of money laundering, financing “terrorism” and “ordering the killing of protesters” – the latter is an offence that carries the death penalty in Sudan.

Before Monday’s trial, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa Joan Nyanyuki said in a statement: “While this trial is a positive step towards accountability for some of his alleged crimes, he remains wanted for heinous crimes committed against the Sudanese people.”

Over the course of his time in office, Al-Bashir led Sudan through several conflicts and is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged atrocities in Darfur.

Al-Bashir was also the last man to lead a united Sudan, prior to South Sudan’s independence in 2011.

Libya

Libyan Al-Ahli Benghazi defender signs for Egypt’s Ittihad of Alexandria

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Libyan Al-Ahli Benghazi defender signs for Ittihad of Alexandria. [Photo: Internet]

Egypt’s Premier League side Ittihad of Alexandria have officially confirmed the signing of Libyan defender Ahmed Shalaby on a three-year deal as part of their summer transfer market campaign.

Shalaby has joined Ittihad on a permanent transfer coming from Libya’s Al-Ahli Benghazi.

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Al-Ahli Benghazi was coached by current coach of the Alexandria-based team Talaat Youssef.

Shalaby has a handful amount of games with the Libyan national team and is expected to be a beneficial addition to the team.

The 25-year-old is the latest addition to the Ittihad team who had an important campaign of reinforcements for the team.

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Libya’s GNA forces seize strategic district from Haftar’s forces in south Tripoli

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Fighting rages on in Tripoli. [Photo: Internet]

The Libyan Army’s Burkan Al-Ghadab Operation  (Volcano of Rage Operation) forces have seized full control of the district of Sebea in southern Tripoli after a day-long deadly fighting with Khalifa Haftar’s forces. 

The forces under the command of the Government of National Accord (GNA) started their attack on Haftar’s forces in Sebea on early Wednesday, clashing with them for over 10 hours before they had control over the district.

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Local media reported the GNA forces as they paraded their presence at the roundabout of Sebea, its neighborhoods, hospital and aviation institute.

The media also said that the fighting saw airstrikes carried out by both sides leading to tens of casualties.

Sebea is very strategic for Haftar’s forces positioned in southern Tripoli, like Qasir Benghashir district, and with the GNA forces seizing it, Haftar’s forces have lost another main supply line of arms, fuel and ammunition just like that of Gharyan over a month ago.

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UN envoy says only political solution can end Libya’s crisis

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Ghassan Salame. [Photo: Libyan Express]

The Head of the UN support mission in Libya, Ghassan Salame, has praised Malta’s efforts in bringing to light the Libyan crisis in the EU.

Salame who was addressing a press conference with Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela, insisted that the Libyan crisis can only be resolved through a political process, Malta Today reported.

Asked what role General Khalifa Haftar should play in a solution to the Libyan crisis, Salame reiterated that only once a political course has been initiated that the question could be answered, it added.

Salame also said that the first step towards a situation of peace in Libya lies in having the current UN-backed truce turned into a permanent ceasefire.

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The UN representative also said that in order for Libya to move forward, the solutions must be spearheaded by Libyans themselves.

“It is Libyans that must decide, no one should force anyone to sit down by force, but past experience in our work has shown that this can be achieved,” he stated.

Salame also called upon the international community to refrain from being passive.

“We must have an international community which properly enforces laws and regulations, when dealing with Libya,” he said.

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100 stranded migrants off Italian coast finally allwoed to disembark on Lampedusa

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Libyan coastguard intercepts Italy-bound migrant ship after ‘sea duel’ [Photo: The Local Italy]

A boat carrying about 250 people, mainly from Eritrea and other sub-Saharan African and Arab countries, capsized last month off the coast near Al-Khoms, east of the capital Tripoli.

Libyan coast guards and local fishermen rescued 134 people while about 115 were missing, bringing the death toll of Mediterranean migrants to over 600 this year.

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That put 2019 on course to be the sixth year in a row with more than 1,000 deaths, UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yaxley said at the time.

Meanwhile, nearly 100 migrants who had been stranded on the ‘Open Arms’ rescue ship off the coast of Lampedusa disembarked on the Italian island last night, ending a prolonged stand-off between the Spanish charity operating the boat and the government in Rome.

The migrants, mainly from Africa, were removed from the boat after an Italian prosecutor ordered the seizure of the ship and the evacuation of the people on board.

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Former Trump lobbyists to represent Libyan Investment Authority in Washington

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Libyan Investment Authority logo

The New York lobbyists Brad Gerstman and David Schwartz, who once counted President Donald Trump as one of their clients, have registered as foreign agents to represent Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, Politico has reported.

It added on Tuesday that Gerstman, Schwartz and another partner at their firm, Shai Franklin, will work to “change the sanctions” affecting the Libyan Investment Authority, according to a Justice Department disclosure.

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“They’ll also reach out to Congress, the State Department and the Treasury Department as well as the media and the “business and banking sectors,” according to the disclosure.” Politico said.

According to Politico, Gerstman and Schwartz are already familiar with Libya. They opened a Washington office of their firm, Gotham Government Relations & Communications, after Trump’s election and lobbied the White House last year on behalf of a company looking to persuade Trump to back its plan to send private security forces to Libya to facilitate oil exploration, according to Gerstman.

“The company, MHRT International Oilfield Services, paid Gotham $200,000 but the plan ultimately went nowhere. Once the insurgency started in Libya earlier this year, the “possibility of American intervention became unrealistic,” Gerstman wrote in a text message to PI. Gotham is no longer working for MHRT.” It indicated.

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