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ICC Note: Since the secession of South Sudan from the North, the Sudanese government has engaged in unrestrained intimidation and discrimination of Christians living in the North.  Not only has this persecution generated a mass-exodus of many Northern Christians, but it has had greatly damaged the political structure of Sudanese opposition groups. 
11/3/2013 Sudan (Sudan Tribune) – The former ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) prominent reformist figure Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, has directed unprecedented criticism to the Islamic Movement (IM) which is considered the ideological arm of the NCP saying that it has turned into a governmental tool for punishing dissident voices.
On Saturday, the IM Shura (Consultative) Council concluded two-day meetings that were devoted for discussions on the recent rift within the NCP.
Late last month, an NCP commission of inquiry established by Sudanese president and party chairman Omer Hassan al-Bashir recommended the dismissal of al-Attabani along with two other members and the suspension of nine others for one calendar year.
The NCP leadership bureau afterwards endorsed the recommendations and referred the matter to the NCP Shura (consultative) council to review and issue a binding decision.
The punished members were among a larger group that included more than 30 NCP figures which signed on an open petition to president Bashir last September following the government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies which triggered a deadly wave of protests across the country that killed at least 70 according to official figures and more than 200 as reported by activists and rights groups.
The signatories including lawmakers and retired army officers, called for reinstating the subsidies due to its “harsh” impact on ordinary Sudanese and demanded that the government prosecute those behind the use excessive violence against protestors.
They also urged Bashir to form a mechanism for national reconciliation comprised of various political forces and assign the economic dossier to a professional national economic team.
Al-Attabani and other dismissed members announced their intention to form a new party which was downplayed by the NCP as having little significance.
The IM meeting over the weekend directed slammed the NCP decision to dismiss and suspend the reformists and decided to form a committee to convince the reformists to return to the party.
A major row erupted when two of the reformist figures, Hassan Osman Rizg, and Samia Habbani were prevented by the security guards from attending the closed sessions. The pair were among those punished by the NCP commission of inquiry last month.
Habbani, who is the wife of Al-Attabani, later announced her resignation from the IM.
In press statements on Saturday, Habbani said that they were informed that they do not have the right to attend the meeting and must be excluded because it would discuss the split of the reformist figures.
She pointed that the decision to prevent them was made by the supreme leadership body which, according to the statute, represents the government, NCP, and IM and is headed by president Bashir describing the decision as “illegal”.
Habbani predicted that a similar decision to dismiss them from the IM would be made and noted that the members of the IM Shura council are themselves members of the NCP Shura council, saying that the majority of them are run by “remote control”.
Al-Attabani, for his part, stressed that reformist leaders were prevented from attending the meeting despite their long history, saying that nobody knows who took the decision, why it was taken or what statute it was based upon.
He said that if the IM was a true Islamic body, it should have insisted that its members defend themselves against the repugnant accusations, describing the IM as a governmental tool designed for punishing dissident voices.