Human rights defenders in danger!

Press release
en fr

Paris-Geneva-Cairo, November 27, 2008. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of their joint programme, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) express their deep concern about acts of harassment faced by three human rights defenders in Sudan. In particular, two of them have been severely tortured.

Since November 24, 2008, three human rights defenders, namely Messrs. Osman Hummaida, human rights researcher and member of OMCT Assembly of Delegates, Abdelmoneim Aljak, human rights defender, and Amir Mohamed Suliman, Chairperson of the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development (KCHRED), have been subjected to severe harassment by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) offices in Khartoum North, in the course of sessions of interrogation related to their activities for the defense of human rights.

Mr. Osman Hummaida has been detained without discontinuation since November 24, 2008. The other two have been arrested, interrogated and then released several times. The Sudanese authorities have not yet said on what basis the three human rights defenders are being interrogated and detained.

Furthermore, Mr. Abdelmoneim Aljak was severely tortured in the course of yesterday night’s interrogation. The NISS resorted to water boarding, severe beatings with a stick on his feet, back, bottom, arms as well as kicks on his face. Both Messrs. Amir Mohamed Suliman and Abdelmoneim Aljak briefly saw Mr. Osman Hummaida yesterday night, who showed symptoms of torture. Mr. Osman Hummaida was not allowed by the NISS to speak to them.

Messrs. Amir Mohamed Suliman and Abdelmoneim Aljak were released in the night and then summonsed again to appear at the NISS offices at 11 am on November 27, 2008. Mr. Amir Mohamed Suliman was then able to speak with Mr. Osman Hummaida, who was very weak and confirmed that he had been tortured the day before. Mr. Osman Hummaida was also hospitalised during the night for high blood pressure before being sent back to the NISS offices.

During the interrogations, the three human rights defenders were questioned on their human rights activities. The Observatory and the CIHRS fear that the Sudanese authorities are attempting to build a case to prosecute the three human rights defenders, using their involvement in fighting against human rights violations as an excuse to target them.

Our organisations are concerned that Messrs. Osman Hummaida, Abdelmoneim Aljak and Amir Mohamed Suliman may face further acts of torture. Therefore, we request that the Sudanese authorities guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Amir Mohamed Suliman, Osman Hummaida and Abedlmonim Aljak, release Mr. Osman Hummaida immediately, since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities, as well as put an end to any act of harassment against them, in conformity with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Sudan.

For further information, please contact:

FIDH: Gael Grilhot / Karine Appy / Julia Bourbon, + 33 1 43 55 25 18
OMCT: Delphine Reculeau, + 41 22 809 49 39

Read more