18 individuals arbitrarily detained in the wake of anti-austerity protests throughout Sudan

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The Government of Sudan has responded to widespread disgruntlement over recent austerity measures by arresting and detaining opposition political party members, activists and individuals; censoring newspapers by seizing their daily-print runs prior to distribution and use of force (including firing live ammunition) to disperse protests. The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) is aware of 18 individuals, including opposition political party leaders, students, advocates and human rights defenders, currently under custody in Sennar, North Kordofan, Kassala, Khartoum and Blue Nile states without charge or access to family and/or legal representation, for suspected involvement in the anti-austerity protests or voiced concerns about the austerity measures that have caused sharp increases in the prices of basic commodities.

Since 6 January, ACJPS has received reports on arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals suspected of being involved in the protests or voiced concerns about the steep increases in the prices of basic commodities. NISS has targeted individuals such as teachers, opposition political party leaders, students and activists, suspected of leading or coordinating the protests through arrest and detention. Some of the detainees were subsequently released while others remain in NISS custody. The detainees have been held in the custody of NISS without charge or access to lawyers or family visits.

Under the 2010 National Security Act (NSA), detainees can be held for up to four and a half months without judicial review. ACJPS views the detention of the group to have no legitimate legal basis, and to be based solely on the peaceful expression of their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association.

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ACJPS is concerned for the safety and detention of the 10 individuals still in custody without charge and without access to their families or lawyers. Previously, ACJPS expressed concern for two Darfurian students who are currently in NISS detained incommunicado, one of whom has reportedly been subjected to torture, whilst in detention. The lack of access to lawyers and family members of the detainees, together with the well-documented use by the NISS of torture and other forms of ill-treatment against detainees, particularly whilst held in unknown locations, gives rise to serious concerns for their safety. Incommunicado detention significantly enhances vulnerability to being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.

We call upon the Government of Sudan to grant the detainees immediate and unequivocal access to their lawyers and family members, and release them in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international standards. The authorities must also guarantee all detainees access to medical assistance required to ensure their physical and psychological well-being.

ACJPS received information about the following opposition political leaders and activists who are currently detained incommunicado on the following dates. Except where noted, details on the location of some detainees remain unknown.

6 January

  1. Mahdi Abdelrahman Salih, (m), student at Sennar University, Sennar city and a member of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party was arrested by the NISS on 6 January 2018 from the university.

7 January

  1. Jalal Mustafa, (m), a member of the Sudanese Congress Party was arrested by the NISS on 7 January 2018 from his home in Khartoum. His whereabouts are unknown.
  2. Omar Aldegair, Chairperson of the Sudanese Congress Party was arrested by the NISS on 7 January 2018 from El Obeid, North Kordofan.

 8 January

  1. Abubaker Suliman, a student at Kassala University, Kassala was arrested by the NISS on 8 January 2018 from the university.
  2. Mohi Eldin Aljalaad, a member of the opposition Sudanese Communist Party was arrested by the NISS on 8 January 2018 from his home in Khartoum. Mr. Mohi Eldin suffers from an eye problem. The NISS desk in Khartoum refused to receive eye medication that his family tried to drop off for him.
  3. Ahmed Zuhair, a member of the opposition Sudanese Communist Party was arrested by the NISS on 8 January 2018 from his home in Khartoum.
  4. Adil Khalafella, a member of the opposition Albaath Party was arrested by the NISS on 8 January 2018 from his home in Khartoum.
  5. Ali Hajo, a human rights defender was arrested by Military Intelligence on 8 January 2018 from his home in Ed Damazin, Blue Nile and is currently under Military Intelligence custody in Ed Damazin.

9 January

  1. Wefaq Qurashi, (f), a student at Khartoum University, a member of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party was arrested by the NISS on 9 January 2018 in front of the university main gate and is being held at the NISS office near the Republican Palace in Khartoum.
  2. Maai Faisal (f), a student at Khartoum University, a member of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party was arrested was arrested by the NISS on 9 January 2018 in front of the university main gate and is being held at the NISS office near the Republican Palace in Khartoum.

10 January

The following individuals were arrested by the NISS from Alhuria Square in Al Obeid North Kordofan after they participated in a peaceful protest against the increase in prices of basic commodities as a result of new austerity measures. All are currently being held at the NISS office in Al Obeid.

  1. Osman Salih, (m), an advocate and human rights defender and a member of the Sudanese Communist Party. Mr. Osman suffers from Diabetes.
  2. Ali Abulgasim, (m), an advocate and a member of the National Umma Party
  3. Taj Eldien Ali Ahmed, (m), an advocate and a member of the Democratic Lawyer Alliance
  4. Adam Ahmed Yagoub, (m), a member of the Democratic Lawyer Alliance
  5. Ahmed Alsuni, (m), a member of the Democratic Lawyer Alliance
  6. Adam Ahmed Yagoub, (m), a member of Democratic Lawyer Alliance
  7. Ahmed Albasha Taha,(m), a member of the Democratic Lawyer Alliance
  8. Abu Bakar Rifa, (m), a member of the Democratic Lawyer Allaince

Individuals who were arrested and subsequently released:

  1. Mussab Abdel Majid, was arrested on 8 January 2018 from his bookshop in Al Geneina, West Darfur and was released the same day at 11 PM.
  2. 15 teachers were arrested on 8 January 2018 from Al Genaina and released the same day at 10 PM.
  3. Walaa Eldien Omer Yousef (m), a student at Khartoum University, a member of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party was arrested on 9 January 2018 in front of the university main gate. He was released the following day, 10 January 2018 at 12 PM.
  4. Rashida Shams Eldien (f), a human rights activist and member of the “No to Women Oppression” initiative, was arrested by the NISS in Omdurman on 11 January and released the following day, 12 January, at 8 AM. She was arrested at a peaceful protest organised by “No to Women’s Oppression” initiative. Ms. Rashida has been arrested a number of times on the basis of her activism.

Individuals ordered to report every other day to NISS office in Wad Madani and Almanagil, Algezira state:

  1. Abdulraouf Omer, (m), 60 years old, a member of the secretariat Algezira and Almanagil Farmers Association was ordered to report to the NISS office in Wad Madani from 31 December 2017.
  2. Zain Alabdien Bargawi (m), 55 years old, a member of the secretariat of  Algezira and Almanagil Farmers Association was ordered to report to NISS office in Wad Madani from 31 December 2017
  3. Mohamed Eltayeeb Dafa Alla, (m), member of the secretariat of Algezira and Almanagil Farmers Association was ordered by the NISS to report to their offices in Almanagil.
  4. Kamal Ahmed Abdulnabi, (m), member of the secretariat of Algezira and Almanagil Farmers Association was ordered to report to NISS office in Almanagil.

Background

On top of the arrests has been a sustained policy by the NISS of seizing newspapers from different media houses, including traditionally pro-government newspapers, in efforts to block all public discourse regarding the anti-austerity protests. From 7-9 January 2018, eight newspapers, including four traditional pro-government newspapers were not allowed to distribute their printed copies. On 7 January 2018, Sudanese forces fired live ammunition into a crowd of student protestors in El Geneinan West Darfur, killing one student and injuring six others. The students were marching towards the state Governor’s office when the forces fired live ammunition in order to disperse the crowd.

The Government of Sudan increased the import dollar rate from 6.7 Sudanese pounds to 18 Sudanese pounds. As a result of this, prices on basic commodities drastically increased to double or triple the price. Protests against the increase of prices of basic commodities have taken place in various states across Sudan including Khartoum, Aljazeera, West Darfur and Kassala states.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS).

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African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)
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