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Bashir pardons Sudan security agents over coup: media

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Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir gives a speech on April 27, 2013 in Khartoum. Bashir has pardoned six members of Sudan's powerful security service just days after they were jailed over a coup attempt last year, state-linked media said on Tuesday. - Copyright : AFP/File

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AFP)

President Omar al-Bashir has pardoned six members of Sudan’s powerful security service just days after they were jailed over a coup attempt last year, state-linked media said on Tuesday.

Several army officers convicted this month for the same plot have also been released under a presidential pardon.

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) members received similar treatment “according to a request of amnesty they presented to the presidency,” said the Sudanese Media Centre, which is close to the security apparatus.

Analysts say the case reflects a political struggle within the 24-year government of Bashir, who himself took power in a coup.

Officials have never revealed more than vague details about the plot which analysts said was linked to hardcore Islamist officers who had once firmly backed the regime.

NISS said last Thursday that a special court convicted the security agents for various prison terms up to eight years.

They had “participated in the plot” last November, it said.

Salah Gosh, who headed the NISS until 2009, was also detained in the case but has not been tried.

His family says he filed a case with Sudan’s Constitutional Court alleging he has been illegally held in custody.

A military court on April 7 issued prison sentences ranging from two to five years for the army officers convicted of “attempting to undermine the constitutional and security system”, threatening national unity and harming the armed forces.

The army originally said 11 military men were convicted but one of their defence lawyers gave the total as nine.

Sudan has been through at least seven coups or attempted coups in its 57 years of independence.

There has been some easing of tension since early March when Sudan and South Sudan began to normalise relations after months of intermittent border clashes.

Bashir then announced he would free all political prisoners as the government seeks a broad political dialogue, “including (with) those who are armed”.

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