Jailed head of Sudan's outlawed ex-ruling party to be freed -lawyer

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Sudan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ahmed Abdelaziz Ghandour talks to the press during a joint news conference with Qatar's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Khartoum, Sudan March 11, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

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KHARTOUM, April 7 (Reuters) - The jailed head of Sudan's former ruling party is be freed, his lawyer told Reuters on Thursday, becoming the most senior figure from the deposed regime of Omar al-Bashir to have charges of crimes against the state dropped since a coup last October.

Ibrahim Ghandour, who also served as foreign minister in ex-President Bashir's outlawed National Congress Party (NCP), was found innocent of undermining the constitution, financing terrorism, and plotting the assassination of former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok along with other attacks, lawyer Abdelrahman Alkhalifa said.

Leaders of the coup - which ended a power-sharing agreement between civilian political parties and the generals who overthrew Bashir in 2019 after three decades of rule - are courting support from some political factions. read more

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However, they have said the NCP cannot take part in a political transition. read more

"We are certain that these moments are ripe for new beginnings towards a new path as we forge our way towards a better future," the party said in a statement celebrating the news of Ghandour's release.

Two other NCP leaders, Anas Omer and Kamaleldin Ibrahim, were among 12 others cleared of the same charges, though Alkhalifa said some of them would remain in jail on other charges. They also included cleric Mohamed Ali El-Gizouli, who had in the past expressed support for Islamic State.

Bashir and several of his top aides remain in prison and are standing trial for their 1989 coup along with other charges.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which led anti-Bashir protests, said this week that the NCP had been reorganising and holding secret meanings.

Dozens of Bashir-era officials in state media, the foreign service, justice ministry, and elsewhere have been returned to service in recent weeks following court orders.

They had been fired by a taskforce working to dismantle the Bashir regime's political, bureaucratic, and financial apparatus, which was placed under review by coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

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Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, writing by Nafisa Eltahir; editing by John Stonestreet

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