Filmmaker’s trial raises concerns over freedom in new Sudan

CAIRO (AP) — More than a year after the overthrow of Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir, amid the promise of new leadership, Sudanese film director Hajooj Kuka was arrested during a theater workshop by the security forces that had served al-Bashir for years. He was tried and sentenced to prison on vague charges often used by the former government to enforce its conservative interpretation of religion.

The jarring episode, including alleged beatings by guards, rattled Kuka and other artists and activists, who say that the country has a long way to go before it can overcome the legacy of three decades of autocratic rule under al-Bashir.

Although a higher court overturned the ruling and released Kuka earlier this month, the case has raised concerns about personal freedoms in Sudan. The country has been ruled by a joint civilian-military government for 14 months, after a popular uprising led to the military’s ouster

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