New acts of harassment against Ms. Mashair Abdullah Omer - SDN 003 / 1107 / OBS 148.1

30/11/2007
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) about new acts of harassment against Ms. Mashair Abdullah Omer, Financial Officer of the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development (KCHRED).

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

New information:

According to the information received, on November 28, 2007, Ms. Mashair Abdullah Omer was summoned again for further questioning and detained at the offices of the political section of Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) in Khartoum North, from around 9 am until around 8.30 pm. While in detention, she would reportedly have been ill-treated and questioned about the structure and sources of funding of the KCHRED.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern with the continuing interference on the activities of human rights defenders by the Sudanese authorities, and fears that such acts of intimidation directly aim at weakening the Sudanese independent civil society.

The Observatory further recalls that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Sudan, Ms. Sima Samar, stated in her latest report that she had witnessed "a noticeable crackdown on human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, [...]"1.

Background information:

On November 21, 2007, two persons from the political section of the NSS arrived at KCHRED. They took Mr. Amir Mohamed Suleiman, KCHR Chairperson, and Ms. Mashair Abdullah Omer to the NSS premises in Khartoum North, where they were detained from around noon to around 8.30 p.m., and were interrogated about personal matters as well as about the financial and administrative structures of the KCHR.

On the same day, Ms. Madiha Abdullah, a journalist with the daily newspaper al-Ayyam, which has faced frequent censorship, and a collaborator of the al-Laq Press Centre, a Khartoum-based non-governmental organisation that carries out activities including training journalists, as well as Dr. Nagib Nagmeldin, former coordinator of SOAT’s activities in Sudan, were also detained and questioned at the NSS offices in Khartoum North.

On November 22, 2007, Mr. Amir Suleiman and Dr Nagib Nagmeldin were ordered to return to the NSS offices at 2 p.m, and Ms. Omer was required to provide documentation relating to the finances of KCHRED. Mr. Suleiman complied with the order and left the NSS offices at 6 p.m.

Furthermore, on November 4, 5 and 6, 2007, three journalists and human rights defenders, namely Mr. Faisal el-Bagir, a SOAT member and a reporter for Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières - RSF), Ms. Lemia el-Jaili Abu Bakr and Mr. Sabah Mohamed Adam, both members of KCHRED, were summoned to the same NSS offices in Khartoum North, detained for several hours and subjected to questioning along similar lines.

Early November, Mr. Faizal el-Bagir published an editorial on ARTICLE 19’s blog, the Khartoum Advocacy Centre, launched as part of the implementation of its project "Promoting freedom of expression and civil society involvement in developing democratic Media legislation in Sudan". His editorial was meant to be published in August in Al-Midan newspaper but the 15,000 copies of the issue containing the editorial were seized. His article was critical of the ongoing abuses by the Sudanese national government on freedom of expression, and towards the media in Sudan.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Sudan, urging them to:

i.Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Mashair Abdullah Omer;

ii.Put an end to any act of harassment against her, all above-mentioned persons as well as against all Sudanese human rights defenders;

iii.Comply 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", Article 5 ("everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, [...] to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups") and Article 12.2, which provides 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";

iv.Comply with Article 39 of the Sudanese Interim National Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and of the media, as well as with Articles 40.1 and 40.2 on freedom of assembly and association;

v.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

- His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan, Presidential Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 783 223 / +249 183 782 541
- His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 11 779977 / 771025
- His Excellency Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice-President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 183 77 10 25
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, Khartoum, Sudan; Fax: + 249 183 78 07 96
- Mr. Deng Alor, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs/External Relations, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 183 77 93 83
- Minister of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Interior, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 77 93 83
- Dr Yasir Sid Ahmed, Head of the Advisory Council for Human Rights PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 770 883
- Dr Abdelmuneim Osman Mohamed Taha, Advisory Council for Human Rights, Rapporteur, PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 77 08 83
- Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue Blanc 47, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: +41 22 731 26 63, Fax: +41 22 731 26 56, Email: mission.sudan@bluewin.ch / mission.sudan@ties.itu.int
- The Embassy of Sudan in Brussels, 124 avenue F:D: Roosevelt; 1050 Brussels. 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 missions or embassies of Sudan in your respective country.

***
Geneva - Paris, November 30, 2007

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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New information
SDN 003 / 1107 / OBS 148.1
Arbitrary arrest / Ill-treatments / Harassment
Sudan
November 30, 2007

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