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Sudan ‘reviewing’ nationality granted to Syrian refugees under Bashir

Reports suggest Bashir's inner circle ran a lucrative illicit passport trade for foreigners [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 September, 2019

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Authorities will re-examine cases of foreigners granted Sudanese citizenship under Omar al-Bashir in a bid to ‘preserve Sudanese identity’, Sudan’s police chief announced.
The Sudanese authorities will re-examine the cases of Syrians and other foreigners who were granted Sudanese nationality under ousted leader Omar al-Bashir.

Sudanese Police Director-General Adil Mohamed Ahmed Bashayer announced on Tuesday the formation of a committee to review the files of foreigners who were naturalised during the rule of the former leader.

Bashayer said the review was being taken in order to "preserve Sudanese identity".

Under al-Bashir, Sudan had a generous policy of naturalisation towards Syrians refugees fleeing the civil war and stateless Kuwaiti "Bidoon", who due to strict and discriminatory nationality laws cannot obtain citizenship in their own country. 

The rumoured absence of restrictions on naturalisation cases allegedly spread some discontent among Sudanese nationals.

The police press office published a statement saying that the committee will review whether those concerned meet the necessary conditions legal controls to retain citizenship.

Bashayer added that the review would take two weeks before it would be presented to the sovereign authorities for a final decision.

Various reports have shed light on illicit networks connected with the Bashir’s inner circle who offer wealthy Syrians passports, costing a minimum $10,000, in a booming black market trade.

An estimated 300,000 Syrians are currently living in Sudan, with 4,000 granted Sudanese citzenship in 2016.

Controversy erupted in 2018 after Kuwaiti media reported Sudan was granting the Bidoon Sudanese nationality, however the Sudanese government denied the allegations.

Despite the denial, protestors took to the streets in anger chanting "Sudan is not for sale".

Months of protests over Sudan's deteriorating economy, followed by a military coup, removed Bashir from power on April 11 2019.

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