Arrest and subsequent release of Messrs. Muhnad Umar and Hazim Khalifa - SDN 003 / 1209 / OBS 187

14/12/2009
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the violent arrest by national State security agents and subsequent release of Messrs. Muhnad Umar and Hazim Khalifa, two human rights activists and students of the Music and Drama Institute.

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 6, 2009, in Omdurman, Messrs. Muhnad Umar and Hazim Khalifa were approached by security forces at Al Salaam Park near II Fitihab Bridge while they were distributing fliers for Grifna, a campaign calling for free elections[1]. The security forces chased the two students and fired shots into the air in order to force them to stop. When they stopped, they were arrested and their instruments, a flute and a bass guitar, were smashed.

Mr. Khalifa was beaten with the butt of a rifle by security agents and was knocked unconscious at the scene. Messrs. Umar and Khalifa were then taken to the National Intelligence Security Service of Sudan (NISS) offices, near the railway station in Khartoum, before being released late in the night. They have not been charged of any offense as to date.

The Observatory deeply condemns the arbitrary arrest of Messrs. Muhnad Umar and Hazim Khalifa, which contradicts Article 39(1) of the Sudan Interim National Constitution, which provides that every "citizen shall have an unrestricted right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information".

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 Messrs. Muhnad Umar and Hazim Khalifa;

ii. Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into above-mentioned acts of ill-treatments against Mr. Khalifa, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring all those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;

iii. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Muhnad Umar and Hazim Khalifa and more generally against all human rights defenders in Sudan;

iv. 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";

v. 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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