The United States has imposed a visa ban on the former director general of Sudan’s national intelligence and security services for his alleged involvement in gross human rights violations.
The State Department, in announcing the ban Wednesday, said it has “credible information” that Salah Abdalla Mohamed Mohamed Salih, also known as Salah Gosh, “was involved in torture during his tenure as head of NISS.”
Gosh, 63, resigned his position as security chief in April, after the military forced out Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir. Gosh had worked with the security force for nearly four decades, according to The National, a Middle East news organization. He faces charges in Sudan of incitement and involvement in the deaths of protesters who pressed for Bashir’s removal after 30 years in power.
The ban blocks Gosh and his family members from entry to the United States. That includes his wife, Awatif Ahmed Seed Ahmed Mohamed, and his daughter, Shima Salah Abdallah Mohamed.
“We will continue to hold accountable those who violate human rights,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet.
Reactions from Sudanese
Sudanese citizens had a mixed reaction to the U.S. move.
“This is a clear message to members of the Transitional Military Council in Sudan that the American government has not forgotten the atrocities committed in June against the peaceful protesters,” Khartoum resident Hiba Fagiri told VOA. “They want to remind them that those atrocities were a violation of human rights.”
Businessman Ali Hassan was skeptical, though, insisting, “We are not going to gain anything from this sanction because even if he has wealth, the Sudanese are not going to gain anything from him. This is a political game from the American government to threaten those who are coming to rule Sudan and they may even come and loot our resources.”
Joshua White of The Sentry, a Washington-based investigative and policy group that tracks money connected to African war criminals, told VOA that the visa ban “sends a clear message to members of the former regime that the United States is continuing to hold them accountable for human rights abuses and corruption that occurred under the former regime.”
The Sentry also encourages a freeze on the financial assets of Gosh, his relatives and any collaborators, said White, who directs policy and analysis for the organization.
“We think that is really the gold [standard], in terms of what needs to happen,” White said.
He called for the United States, the European Union and the African Union to impose financial sanctions “to really bring true accountability but also … to ensure that these individuals don’t continue to perpetuate a cycle of violence, don’t continue to steal from state assets.”
VOA’s Michael Atit contributed to this report from Khartoum.