An appeals court in the Sudanese capital has released the last of a group of 11 artists arrested almost two months ago and convicted for causing a “public nuisance”, their lawyer said Wednesday.

Othman al-Basri told AFP that the last six members of the group, who were sentenced on September 25 to serve two years in jail, were freed on Tuesday.

Last week, filmmaker Hajooj Kuka and four other artists also walked free.

Kuka, along with other members of a collective called “Civic Lab” collective, were convicted for causing a “public nuisance” and breaking a curfew imposed over the coronavirus.

The Civic Lab collective was formed in the wake of, and inspired by, the mass protests that last year brought down Sudan’s autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir.

According to Sudanese activist Tahani Abbas, police arrested the 11 artists on August 10 while they were rehearsing a play following a complaint from neighbours.

Kuka had in August said on Twitter that he and the others were “attacked during a theater workshop in #khartoum by islamists instigators. The police stood by the attackers and arrested us”.

Steven Markowitz, who produced Kuka’s film “aKasha” — shown at the Venice film festival — took to Twitter to praise the decision.

“Great news!! Hajooj and the four artists have just been released… International pressure made a difference,” he wrote.

Markowitz had condemned what he called the “fake charges” against the artists.

Sudan is undergoing a delicate political transition under a joint civilian-military government formed on the back of months of protests following Bashir’s ouster in April last year.

Bashir had come to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.


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