Petition update

Sudan Protests: Deep concern for the safety and wellbeing of eight activists detained incommunicado

Ziad Abdel Samad
Beirut, Lebanon

Mar 15, 2019 — 

(15 March 2019) The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) expresses its utmost concern over the physical safety and wellbeing of eight activists detained incommunicado without charge by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). The activists were arrested between December 2018 and February 2019 for actual or suspected participation in the ongoing peaceful anti-government protests in Sudan. Reliable information indicates that the activists are being detained in inhuman conditions including denial meals.

Mr Musab Mukhtar Maridi, a football coach from Nyala, South Darfur was arrested by NISS in Nyala on 13 January 2019 and subjected to three months detention in the NISS section attached to Nyala prison under the emergency law in South Darfur. A reliable source informed ACJPS that prison authorities have refused to give him meals and he is only eating food brought by his family.

Mr Shamsadeen Dawalbeit, human rights defender and activist, was arrested on 22 February 2019 by NISS. Mr Dawalbait oversees the publication of  Al-Hadatha Magazine,  which encourages young artists and intellectuals to publicize their artistic talents and intellectual productions. He has worked to engage the youth on critical debates about democracy and good governance. Mr Dawalbeit was questioned about his suspected involvement in encouraging youth to participate in the ongoing peaceful protests and was ordered to unlock his phone, which he refused. As result, he was allegedly humiliated and beaten with sticks.

Mr Dawalbeit was released that same day and he continued to report to the NISS office for interrogations until 6 March 2019 when he was taken into custody. He has been held incommunicado without charge in Khartoum North ever since. ACJPS worry that the interest of NISS to access his phone heightens his risk of being subjected to ill treatment and/or torture given the well documented use of torture against detainees by NISS.

ACJPS is deeply concerned that members of organizations and associations organizing the ongoing protests are at higher risk of prolonged detention and/or subjection to torture and ill-treatment as NISS tried to extract information about the leadership of the organizations and associations from them. Two examples are Mr Mohamed Naji Alasam and Mr Ahmed Rabie, both members of the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been instrumental in organising the ongoing protests. Mr Alasam and Mr Rabie were arrested on 4 and 11 January 2019 respectively from Khartoum by the NISS. NISS has continued to target members of the SPA and in February 2019, NISS used a family member of one detainee to pressure her to reveal the names of other members. The spokesperson of the association has been detained since 4 January 2019.

Mr Sidig Yousief, the Chairperson of the solidarity committee, which brings together family members of the victims of the crackdown on September 2013 protests was arrested 22 February 2019 and detained incommunicado by NISS. He is one of the oldest detainees at 88 years old. NISS acted in complete disregard of the Sudanese Criminal Act of 1991 which prevents imprisonment of people above the age of 70 years. His age makes him vulnerable to human rights abuse while in detention.

Professors of Khartoum University, Mr Mohamed Yosef Ahmed Al Mustafa and Mr Muntesir Elteyeb were arrested on 21 February 2019 from Khartoum Arabic Market. Mr Nazim Suraj Eldien, an activist who had been providing medical assistance to injured protesters was arrested in Khartoum on 31 January 2019.  They have been detained incommunicado ever since.

Since 19 December 2018, NISS and police have carried out a campaign of mass arrests targeting activists with arbitrary arrest and prolonged and incommunicado detention for their actual or suspected participation in protests that have broken out in different parts of Sudan, denouncing the rising cost of living and calling on President Omar Al Bashir to step down.  Activists have been arrested from their homes, work places or during protests. In January and February 2019, ACJPS documented the incommunicado detention of 116 political activists, 30 human rights activists and  other activists without charge by NISS.

ACJPS reiterates its call on the government of Sudan to take immediate measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all detainees and order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international standards. If such charges exist, the detainees should be brought promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal in a process that guarantees their procedural rights at all times.

We further urge Sudanese authorities to respect the right of Sudanese people to peacefully protest and fully exercise their rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression, as recognized in the Interim National Constitution of Sudan, 2005.

Background

On 22 February 2019, President Omar Al Bashir announced a year-long, nationwide state of emergency in a bid to quell the protests that have already lasted almost three months. The state of emergency imposes restrictions on fundamental rights being exercised by protesters, including their right to peaceful assembly without permission from authorities. Moreover, the establishment of emergency courts and prosecution offices violate the right to a fair trial, which is guaranteed under both the Sudanese constitution, and regional and international treaties ratified by Sudan.

Following the announcemnt, hundreds of Sudanese citizens took to the streets in Omdurman, Khartoum and other cities across the country calling for President Bashir’s resignation. The Government deployed a large number of security forces, including the Sudan Armed Forces, to crackdown on the protests. Authorities have continued to use live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protests. Protestors were also beaten by security officials. Despite crackdown, the SPA has continued to call for peaceful protests across the country. At least 816 people have been arrested and detained  while  57 peaceful protesters have been killed since 19 December 2018.  At least 57 detainees have been released by NISS.

List of activists in detention (where available, date and location of arrest have been included): 

Ahmed Abdulla Elshiekh(m), the chairperson of Doctors Trade Union (an opposition union) was arrested on 25 December 2018.
Ahmed Mohamed, the founder of “Wasif lai group” was arrested from a café in Khartoum. The group has a Facebook page where they provide directions to places and shops within Sudan. NISS started targeting the administrators of the page after they shared photos and personal information of NISS agencies on their page.
Amier Esam Eldien Bob (m) was arrested on 31 January 2019 while attending a meeting of lawyers to provide legal aid for detainees from Khartoum.
Aymen Al-Nadif Adam Sharaf Eldien (m), a communications engineer, was arrested by NISS on 13 January 2019 in Nyala, South Darfur and detained in the NISS section attached to Nyala prison for three months under the 2007 Emergency Law.
Mohamed Musa Ahmed Eltahir (m), was arrested by NISS on 13 January 2019 in Nyala, South Darfur and is being detained in the NISS section attached in Nyala prison for three months under the 2007 Emergency Law.
Mohamed Yousef (m), an advocate and human rights defender was arrested on 30 December 2018.
Musab Hassouna (m), a photographer who trains youth in photography, was arrested on 26 February 2019. Mr. Hasona was arrested by NISS in Al-Damazin in Blue Nile State when he went to NISS office to inquire the about his trainees who were arrested by NISS from main street while practicing photography.
Mustafa Abu Alrish (m) was arrested in Khartoum on 26 February 2019.ContactMossaad Mohamed Ali, Executive Director, African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies ACJPS. (English, Arabic, Swedish): +46764325862,+256779584542.


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