Washington accused the former head of Sudan’s feared security service of torture on Wednesday and barred him from entering the United States.
Salah Ghosh headed the African country’s National Intelligence and Security Service until he resigned in April this year, two days after a military council took power and ousted the country’s president Omar al-Bashir after months-long citizen protests.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his department “has credible information that Salah Ghosh was involved in torture during his tenure as head of NISS.”
Pompeo said Ghosh, whose full name is Salah Abdallah Mohammed Salih, is ineligible for entry into the US, along with his wife and daughter.
“We join the Sudanese people in their call for a transitional government that is truly civilian-led and differs fundamentally from the Bashir regime, particularly on the protection of human rights,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Ghosh, who studied engineering, had worked on and off for NISS since the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power, according to Sudanese media.
During his tenure as chief, which initially lasted until 2009, he was credited with building NISS into one of the most powerful security agencies of Bashir’s regime.
Over the years, NISS oversaw repeated crackdowns on government opponents and the media.
Ghosh was later jailed on accusations that he had planned a coup to topple Bashir, but no evidence was found against him and the president pardoned him.
Bashir reappointed Ghosh to head the security service again in February 2018.
Rights group Amnesty International urged the military council to examine the actions of Ghosh during a deadly crackdown against protesters during the final weeks of Bashir’s rule.
“It is crucial that Sudan’s new authorities investigate Salah Ghosh’s role in the killings of scores of Sudanese protesters over the past four months,” Amnesty’s regional director Sarah Jackson said in April.
The following month, Sudanese prosecutors said they tried, unsuccessfully, to arrest the former security chief.
Sudan’s generals and protest leaders signed a declaration this month that paves the way for a transition to civilian rule.