International

US sanctions Sudan police over crackdown against coup protests

Associated Press/Marwan Ali

The U.S. is imposing sanctions on Sudan’s police over its crackdown against coup protesters last year.

The State and Treasury departments announced on Monday that the U.S. is levying sanctions against Sudan’s Central Reserve Police (CRP) for using excessive and lethal force on demonstrators protesting the military takeover.

The CRP is a militarized Sudanese police unit that has been a leading perpetrator of the security forces’ violent response to peaceful protests that have taken place in Khartoum, according to a statement from the Treasury Department. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that Sudanese security forces have utilized lethal force against protesters or violated or abused their human rights many times since the military took over the country on Oct. 25.

The statement cited a specific incident on Jan. 17 in which CRP officers engaged with protesters using live ammunition, which resulted in “numerous death and injuries.”

Blinken said reports of CRP officers raping, killing and torturing individuals, in addition to other abuses, were “unacceptable.”

“Reports of rape, killings, torture, and arbitrary detentions, among other abuses committed by CRP officers as recently as March 14, are ongoing. Reports that CRP officers raped and committed other acts of sexual abuse against female protesters – notably on December 21 and 22, as well as on March 14 – are particularly egregious,” the secretary wrote.

“These actions are unacceptable and contrary to the Sudanese people’s desire for freedom, peace, and justice in their country. All abuses against protesters by CRP officers must be stopped,” he added.

Brian Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the department condemns “Sudan’s security services for killing, harassing, and intimidating Sudanese citizens.”

Under the sanctions, all property and interests possessed by the CRP that are in the U.S., come within U.S. jurisdiction, or are in the possession or control of Americans are blocked. Additionally, they must be reported to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The military seized control of Sudan on Oct. 25, effectively ending the country’s chances at having a peaceful transition to democracy after almost 30 years under its longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir, according to The Associated Press.

The coup took place more than two years after al-Bashir and his Islamic government were pushed out of leadership in April 2019.

The takeover sparked protests in the street almost every day, according to the AP, which prompted the fatal crackdown by Sudanese security forces.

Tags Antony Blinken

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