Arbitrary detention of Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Hajar - SDN 002 / 1209 / OBS 186

14/12/2009
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention by the National Intelligence Security Service of Sudan (NISS) of the three lawyers Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Hajar.

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

According to the information received, on December 8, 2009, at the Al Kalakla Court complex in Khartoum, Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Hajar were arrested for posting on behalf of the Lawyers’ Democratic Front fliers urging lawyers to renew their membership at the Bar Association and pay the related fees in order to be entitled to vote at the next Bar Association elections. The lawyers were arrested and interrogated by the police following an order issued by Judge Bashir Rahama. They were released the same day without being charged.

However, immediately upon their release, NISS agents re-arrested them outside the police station, and took them to the NISS office in the Abu Adam area in Al Kalakla district, where the women remained in custody without access to their lawyers and families as of issuing this urgent appeal.

These lawyers were targeted for no other reason than posting information on the coming Bar Association elections, to be held in January 2010. The last elections at the Sudan Bar Association took place in January 2006 and saw the victory of the National Congress Party, amid allegations of rigging. The results of the election were challenged before the courts following allegations of corruption and fraud. The Constitutional Court accepted the referral, but no decision has been issued as to date. Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Haja’s arrests may therefore seen as aiming at obstructing the holding of fair, transparent and pluralist elections at the Bar Association in January 2010, thereby undermining the independence of the Bar Association.

The Observatory is deeply concerned by the arbitrary arrest of Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Haja, which seem merely aimed at sanctioning their human rights activities, and calls upon the Sudanese authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally.

The Observatory further urges the European Commission Delegation as well as the European Union (EU) Member States embassies in Sudan, to call upon the Sudan authorities to comply with the relevant international norms and standards, in particular the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and take action, in line with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.

Actions required:

Please write to the Sudan authorities urging them to:

i. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Hajar;

ii. Release them immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iii. Ensure in the meantime that they be granted access to a lawyer of their choice and to their relatives;

iv. Put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Hajar and more generally against all human rights defenders in Sudan;

v. 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 its Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels" and its Article 12.2, which states that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration";

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Sudan.

Addresses :

· Mr. President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, Office of the President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 183 783223

· Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 183 771025

· Mr. Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice-President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan; Fax: + 249 183 771025

· Mr. Abdel Bassit Sabdarat, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan; Fax: 249 183 764 168 / +249 183 770 883; Email: moj@moj.gov.sd

· Mr. Deng Alor, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs/External Relations, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: 249183772941

· Mr. Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed, Minister of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Interior, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 779383 / +249 183 776 554; Email: ministry@mfa.gov.sd

· Dr Abdelmuneim Osman Mohamed Taha, Advisory Council for Human Rights, Rapporteur, PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 77 08 83

· Dr Priscilla Joseph, Chair of the Human Rights Committee, National Assembly, Omdurman, Sudan, Fax: +249 187 560 950

· Ambassador Mr. John Ukec Lueth Ukec, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue Blanc 51-53 (3rd Floor), 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: +41 22 731 26 63, Fax: +41 22 731 26 56 / +41 22 716 19 70, Email: mission.sudan@bluewin.ch

· The Embassy of Sudan in Brussels, Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 124, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Tel.:0032 (2) 647 51 59 / 0032 (2) 647 94 94, Fax: 0032 (2) 648 34 99, Email: sudanbx@yahoo.com

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Sudan in your respective countries.

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