Sudan: Arbitrary arrest and detention of numerous defenders

30/07/2012
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the African Centre For Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) about another wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions targeting human rights defenders, including five lawyers, Messrs. Abdul Rahman Abu Al Hassan, Ahmed Mohamed Abdallah, Adil Abdallah Nasr El Dein, Amro Hamad Omar and Satti Mohamed Alhaj, as well as Ms. Mai Shatta, Messrs. Ahmed Alkwarti, Namarig Abdelonim and Sharaf Aldin, members of Girifna[1], and Fathi Albhiri, teacher, writer and blogger.

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), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Sudan.

New information:

According to information received, on July 17 and 18, 2012, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested Messrs. Abdul Rahman Abu Al Hassan, Ahmed Mohamed Abdallah and Adil Abdallah Nasr El Dein in their respective offices in Nyala, South Darfur. They were released on July 18, but were re-arrested in their offices on July 19 in the morning. The three lawyers were arrested in relation with the submission, on July 16, 2012, of an open letter to the Governor of South Darfur on behalf of “Nyala lawyers” and the people of Nyala. In this letter, the lawyers called on the Governor to release all political detainees who had been arrested for engaging in peaceful protests, to respect the constitution and to guarantee the rights to freedom of expression and association. The document also denounced the deteriorating security, economic and public health situation in South Darfur, as well as a lack of effective policies to address rising food prices and the budget deficit.

Moreover, between June 23 and July 1, 2012 the NISS had arrested 7 defenders: Ms. Mai Shatta, Messrs. Amro Hamad Omar, Satti Mohamed Alhaj and Fathi Albhiri, as well as Messrs. Ahmed Alkwarti, Namarig Abdelonim and Sharaf Aldin.

Messrs. Ahmed Alkwarti, Namarig Abdelonim and Sharaf Aldin were released on bail by personal guarantee on July 23, 2012. However, Messrs. Abdul Rahman Abu Al Hassan, Ahmed Mohamed Abdallah, Adil Abdallah Nasr El Dein, Amro Hamad Omar, Satti Mohamed Alhaj and Ms. Mai Shatta were still detained as of July 30, 2012. In addition, while the court dropped the charges against Messrs. Namarig Abdelonim and Sharaf Aldin on July 25, Mr. Ahmed Alkwarti remains charged under Articles 62 (“inciting feelings of unrest among disciplined forces and abetment of disturbing order”), 63 (“calling for opposition to public authority by use of violence or criminal force”), 65 (“participation in criminal and terrorist organisations”), 69 (“disturbance of public peace”) and 77 (“public nuisance, alcohol and gambling public nuisance”) of the Criminal Code of 1991, thus facing a sentence of up to 10 years of imprisonment and/or a fine.

The Observatory recalls moreover that at least 12 other human rights defenders are reportedly still detained, namely: Messrs. Mohamed Salah Mohamed, President of the Nubian Students Association, Mohamed Al-Usbat, journalist and activist, Ms. Nahid Gabralla, women’s rights activist, member of Sima Organisation for Child Rights, Ms. Amira Osman, women’s rights activist, member of “No to Women’s Oppression”, Mr. Faisal Shabou, women’s rights activist, member of Sima Organisation for Child Rights, Ms. Rashida Shams, member of Girifna and member of “No to Women’s Oppression”, Mr. Tarig El Sheikh, lawyer, member of Darfur Bar Association, Ms. Marwa el Tigany, journalist and human rights defender, Mr. Al Said Mustafa, Chairperson of Al Shiroog Cultural Forum, Mr. Ramzi Yahia, lawyer, affiliate of Al Shiroog Cultural Forum, Mr. Abdulgadir Mahmoud, affiliate of Al Shiroog Cultural Forum, and Mr. Radwan Daoud, member of Girifna (see Observatory Urgent Appeal SDN 001 / 0712 / OBS 070). Except for Mr. Daoud, all defenders mentioned above remain in custody without charges, and no information could be obtained about their conditions of detention.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Messrs. Ahmed Alkwarti, Namarig Abdelonim and Sharaf Aldin, as well as that of Mr. Widad Dirwish, another member of Girifna who had been arrested previously[2]. It nevertheless denounces the ongoing detention of the human rights defenders mentioned above, as well as the judicial harassment of Messrs. Radwan Daoud, Widad Dirwish and Ahmed Alkwarti. Messrs. Radwan Daoud and Widad Dirwish are indeed still charged under Articles 63, 65, 67, 69, 72 ("exposing ways and means of transport and communication to danger") and 77 of the Criminal Code of 1991, and face a sentence of up to 10 years of imprisonment and/or a fine.

The Observatory more generally expresses its deepest concerns about these new arbitrary arrests and detentions and calls upon the Sudanese authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all the human rights defenders mentioned above, and to release those detained immediately and unconditionally. The Observatory further calls upon the Sudanese authorities to put an end to the continuing harassment against all those prosecuted, since it seems to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities and the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression as protected by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Background information:

Between June 23 and July 12, 2012, the authorities launched a campaign of arrests targeting dozens of human rights defenders, in the context of popular mass protests calling for regime change, peace and justice.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Sudan to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders mentioned above, as well as of all human rights defenders in Sudan;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment, including at the judicial level, against all human rights defenders mentioned above, as well as of all human rights defenders in Sudan, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrances;

iii. Release all those detained immediately and unconditionally as their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and its 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”;

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. Mohammed Boushara Dossa, 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. Ali Ahmed Karti, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs/External Relations, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: 249183772941
· Mr. Ibrahim Mahmoud Ahmed, 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
· 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 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
· 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 diplomatic representations of Sudan in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, July 30, 2012

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.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80 Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Girifna, which means "we are fed up", is, a youth group created before the general elections to encourage civic participation as voter education and promotion of social change and democracy through peaceful actions.

[2] See Observatory Urgent Appeal SDN 001 / 0712 / OBS 070.

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