Sudan: Judicial harassment of women’s rights defender Khadeeja Aldewaihi

01/04/2021
Urgent Appeal

SDN 002 / 0421 / OBS 040
Judicial harassment /
Restriction of freedom of expression
Sudan
April 1, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Sudan.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) about the judicial harassment of women’s and environmental rights defender Khadeeja Aldewaihi. She is a member of the Sudanese Organization for Research and Development (SWORD), as well as a presenter with Al-Shorouk TV channel in Sudan.

On March 18, 2021, the Cybercrime Prosecutor of Sudan charged Khadeeja Aldewaihi with "publishing false news online" (articles 24 and 25 of the Cybercrimes Act) in relation to a post she had written on Facebook on May 13, 2020 about the resignation of the Minister of Health and the challenges the health sector faces in Sudan [1]. The prosecutor subsequently referred the case for trial and Ms. Khadeeja could be summoned to court at any time.

The Observatory recalls that, on November 29, 2020, two policemen came to the house of Khadeeja Aldewaihi and told a relative of Ms. Aldewaihi who was in the house that they were long-standing colleagues of hers from Al-Shorouk TV in order to access the house. They took this opportunity to deliver Ms. Aldewaihi with a summons for questioning at the police station on November 30, 2020.

On November 30, 2020, Khadeeja Aldewaihi presented herself to the police station, where she was interrogated about her posts on Facebook dating back to May 13, 2020.

On the morning of December 14, 2020, she was summoned to the Office of the Cybercrime Prosecutor. In addition to the questions about her Facebook posts, she was asked about her political affiliation and her alleged engagement with the Sudanese communist party. Ms. Aldewaihi was one more time summoned to the Office of the Cybercrime Prosecutor on December 16, 2020, where she was interrogated over her alleged relationship with the Sudanese Universities Graduate Association and their Facebook account.

The Observatory expresses its concern over the judicial harassment of Khadeeja Aldewaihi, which seems to be used to target her legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory is further concerned about the use of the Cybercrimes Act to target human rights defenders and online critics in Sudan and calls on the authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure their right to freedom of expression is duly respected and protected.

The Observatory urges the authorities in Sudan to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Khadeeja as well as all human rights defenders in the country, including women’s rights defender and blogger Waad Bahjat.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Sudan asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Ms.Khadeeja Aldewaihi, as well as of all human rights defenders in Sudan;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Khadeeja Aldewaihiand all human rights defenders in Sudan so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance or fear of reprisals.

Addresses:

· Mr. Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of Sudan, Email: pm.press@cabinet.gov.sd
· Mr.Nasredeen Abdulbari, Minister of Justice, Email: Minister@moi.gov.sd
· Mr. Idriss al-Traifi, Minister of Interior, Email: ministry@mfa.gov.sd
· H.E. Mr. Mr. Ali Ibn Abi Talib Abdelrahman Mahmoud, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan United Nations in Geneva, Email: mission.sudan@bluewinch.ch ,
· Embassy of Sudan in Brussels, Email: sudanbx@yahoo.com

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Sudan in your respective country.

***
Geneva-Paris, April 1, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39
· Tel FIDH: + 33 1 43 55 25 18

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