Sudan: Arbitrary arrests and detentions of 13 defenders

18/07/2012
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the African Centre For Justice and Peace Studies about a wave of arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detention targeting human rights defenders, including, Mr. Mohamed Salah Mohamed, President of the Nubian Students Association, which works in favour of equal rights for all Sudanese, of the right to represent the Nubian culture and against linguistic and ethnic discrimination, as well as Mr. 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[1] 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, Messrs. Radwan Daoud, and Widad Dirwish, members of Girifna.

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.

Description of the situation:

According to the information received, between June 23 and July 12, 2012, the authorities launched a campaign of arrest targeting dozens of human rights defenders, in the context of popular mass protests calling for regime change, peace and justice. While some defenders have been released, at least 13 remain in detention, some incommunicado, at the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) premises in Khartoum. Few have been charged.

Among them, Mr. Mohamed Salah, who was arrested on June 24, 2012 by the NISS, in Al Rayad area in Khartoum state, after engaging in a public speech encouraging students to use their right to peaceful protest. The NISS initially refused to disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Mohamed Salah to his relatives, and subsequently rejected their visit request without any explanation. The NISS finally authorised them to visit him but only for ten minutes on July 14, 2012 in Kober prison, Khartoum North, but ordered them not to inquire about his conditions of detention. During the visit, Mr. Salah was shivering, his forehead was bruised and the colour of his skin was altered. In addition, Mr. Salah informed his family that he had no access to clean water in spite of a chronic kidney disease. The NISS has also denied Mr. Salah any access to legal assistance and to a meeting with a lawyer.

Two of the 13 defenders were charged. Indeed, Messrs. Radwan Daoud and Widad Dirwish were charged under Articles 63 (calling for opposition to public authority by use of violence or criminal force) 65 (criminal and terrorist organisations), 67 (rioting), 69 (disturbance of public peace), 71 (polluting the environment) and 72 (exposing ways and means of transport and communication to danger) of the Criminal Code 1991.

The other eleven human right defenders remain in custody without charges. No information could be obtained regarding their conditions of detention.

The Observatory expresses it deepest concern about the arbitrary detention the 13 human rights defenders and fears for their physical and psychological integrity, particularly in the current context of widespread torture and ill-treatment and of arbitrary and incommunicado detention of activists in Sudan. The Observatory therefore calls upon the authorities to guarantee in all circumstances their physical and psychological integrity and release them immediately and unconditionally, as their detention 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.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Sudan to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the 13 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 the 13 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 the 13 human rights defenders mentioned above 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 18, 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, voter education and promotion of social change and democracy through peaceful actions.

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