Sudan: Release of Ms. Rawa Jaafar Bakhit, Ms. Nahid Jabrallah, Ms. Amel Habani, Ms. Hanan Hassan Khalifa, and Mr. Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma.

22/02/2018
Urgent Appeal

New information
SDN 002 / 0218 / OBS 017.1

Incommunicado detention /
Ill-treatment /
Arbitrary detention /
Release
Sudan
February 21, 2018

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) about the release of Ms. Rawa Jaafar Bakhit, advocate for the rights of displaced families, Ms. Nahid Jabrallah, Director of the Sima Centre for Training and Protection of Women and Children’s Rights based in Khartoum, Ms. Amel Habani, award-winning journalist and Coordinator in the No Oppression Against Women Initiative in Sudan, Ms. Hanan Hassan Khalifa, human rights lawyer and Mr. Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma, Chairperson of the Darfur Bar Association.

According to the information received, on February 12, 2018, Ms. Rawa Jaafar Bakhit was released from the Omdurman Women’s Prison, in Khartoum where she had been detained incommunicado since January 17, 2018.

In addition, on February 18, 2018, Ms. Nahid Jabrallah, Ms. Amel Habani and Ms. Hanan Hassan Khalifa were released following a National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) press conference atKober Prison in Khartoum Bahari, where they had been transferred earlier on the same day for that occasion. All three were previously held at the Omdurman Women’s Prison, in Khartoum where they had been detained by the NISS. Ms. Nahid Jabrallah and Ms. Amel Habani had been arrested in Khartoum on January 16, 2018 while they were taking part in peaceful protests. Ms. Hanan Hassan Khalifa had been arrested on January 31, 2018, in Khartoum Bahri at a police/NISS checkpoint in the main street targeting the people heading to join a protest. Ms. Nahid Jabrallah and Ms. Hanan Hassan Khalifa were detained incommunicado and acts of ill-treatment against Ms. Amel Habani had been reported during her interrogation.

Furthermore, on February 19, 2018, Mr. Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma was released from Kober Prison where he was transferred three hours before from Shalla prison, North Darfur, after more than a month of arbitrary incommunicado detention.

The Observatory was also informed of the ongoing incommunicado detention of Mr. Salih Mahmoud Osman, Vice-Chairperson of the Darfur Bar Association, Mr. Amjed Fareed, blogger and human rights defender, Mr. Ahmed Jadeen, journalist with Aljareeda newspaper and Mr. Mohammed Abdulmonim, freelance journalist. They are reportedly all detained in relation to their participation to nation-wide peaceful protests against rising commodity prices, which has resulted in the arrest of several human rights defenders and civil society leaders. Yet no information about charges levelled against them have been disclosed to date.

The Observatory fears that these arrests and detentions occur in reaction to nation-wide demonstrations that began on January 6, 2018 and were set off by the announcement of Sudan’s 2018 budget and the lifting of subsidies and measures, effectively tripling Sudan’s U.S. dollar exchange rate and increasing the price of basic commodities. Sudanese authorities have carried out a campaign of massive arrests and detentions, including political party leaders, journalists, students, human rights defenders and other individuals for their involvement in the protests [1]. The police and the NISS have used excessive force to disperse and arrest protesters, including the reported use of tear gas and beatings with sticks and water hose pipes [2].

The Observatory strongly condemns and reiterates its concerns over the ongoing incommunicado detention of Mr.Salih Mahmoud Osman, Mr. Ahmed Jadeen and Mr. Mohammed Abdulmonim, which significantly enhances vulnerability to ill-treatment.

The Observatory urges Sudanese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them, as their detention is arbitrary and clearly aims at punishing their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities and in the meantime to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity and their right to a fair trial, including unhindered access to their lawyers and families.

Background information:

On January 16, 2018, Ms. Nahid Jabrallah and Ms. Amel Habani were arrested in Khartoum as they were taking part in such peaceful protests. Both remain were detained by the NISS at the Omdurman Women’s Prison, in Khartoum. Moreover, Ms. Nahid Jabrallah was detained incommunicado since her arrest despite particularly delicate health conditions as she was involved in a car accident prior to her arrest.

Acts of ill-treatment against Ms. Amel Habani have been reported as she was allegedly beaten with an electric rod during interrogation. On January 29, 2018, she was allowed a visit from her mother and her two children in the presence of NISS agents but was denied a visit from her husband and did not have access to her lawyer while detained. A constitutional appeal contesting the lawfulness of her detention was filed on February 5, 2018 on her behalf against the Government of Sudan and the NISS and is still pending to date.

On January 17, 2018, Ms. Rawa Jaafar Bakhit and Mr. Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma were arrested as they were taking part in other protests in Omdurman. Mr. Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma was detained at Shalla prison, in North Darfur, where he was transferred on January 26.

On January 18, 2018, Mr. Amjed Fareed was arrested from his home in Khartoum and has since been detained incommunicado within the NISS premises in Khartoum.

On January 31, 2018, Ms. Hanan Hassan Khalifa was detained in Khartoum Bahri at a police/NISS checkpoint in the main street targeting the people heading to join a protest and was further detained incommunicado the Omdurman Women’s Prison, in Khartoum.

On the same day, Mr. Ahmed Jadeen and Mr. Mohammed Abdulmonim were arrested in Khartoum Bahri while they were covering protests. Both journalists had been monitoring and documenting cases of detainees in connection with the protests. They are being detained at the NISS political section in Khartoum Bahari.

On February 1, 2018, Mr. Salih Mahmoud Osman was arrested from his office in Khartoum and has been detained incommunicado within the NISS premises in Khartoum since.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Sudan asking them to:

i. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Salih Mahmoud Osman, Mr. Ahmed Jadeen and Mr. Mohammed Abdulmonim, as well as of all human rights defenders in Sudan;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Salih Mahmoud Osman, Mr. Ahmed Jadeen and Mr. Mohammed Abdulmonim, and all detained human rights defenders in Sudan as their arbitrary detention is merely aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities;

iii. In the meantime, guarantee the right to due process and fair trial of Mr. Salih Mahmoud Osman, Mr. Ahmed Jadeen and Mr. Mohammed Abdulmonim, including the unhindered access to their lawyers and family;

iv. Carry out an immediate, independent and impartial investigation into alleged above-mentioned acts of ill-treatment against Ms. Amel Habani in order to bring all those responsible before a competent tribunal in accordance with international standards ;

i. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma, Mr. Salih Mahmoud Osman, Ms. Rawa Jaafar Bakhit, Mr. Ahmed Jadeen, Mr. Mohammed Abdulmonim, Ms. Nahid Jabrallah, Ms. Amel Habani and Ms. Hanan Hassan Khalifa, and all human rights defenders in Sudan so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance or fear of reprisals;

ii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2; and

iii. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Sudan.

Addresses:

· H.E Mr. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, President of Sudan, Fax: +249183783223; Email: info@presidency.gov.sd
· Dr Idris Ibrahim Jameel, Minister of Justice, Fax: +24983791544 / +249183764168 / + 249183770883; Email: moj@moj.gov.sd
· Mr. Ibrahim Ahmed Ghandour, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax:+249183772941
· Gen. Dr. Hamid Manan Mohamed, Minister of Interior, Fax: +249183779383 / 249183776554; Email: ministry@mfa.gov.sd
· Advisory Council for Human rights, Rapporteur, Fax: + 249183770883
· H.E. Mr. Mustafa Osman Ismail Elamin, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan United Nations in Geneva, Fax: +41227312656 / +41227161970; Email: mission.sudan@bluewinch.ch ,
· Embassy of Sudan in Brussels, Fax: +3226483499; Email: sudanbx@yahoo.com

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

***
Geneva-Paris, February 21, 2018

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 and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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