Court annuls license revocation of Sudan Writers' Union
An administrative court of appeal in Khartoum decided to annul the decision to revoke the license of the Sudanese Writers' Union, and ordered the security apparatus to return its property as well as allowing it to operate again in Sudan.
Osman Shenger, the secretary-general of the Union, said that the Ministry of Culture, which ordered to revoke its license in 2015, has failed to prove its allegations against the writers' union and has not submitted any evidence to support its “arbitrary decision” of a nullity of their activities.
Shenger told Radio Dabanga: “The decision to freeze the Union coincided with the government’s decisions of closing a number of cultural institutions such as the Sudanese Studies Centre and El Khatim Adlan Centre (KACE).
'The Writers' Union will re-launch its activities in Sudan after getting back its property.'
The National Council for Culture has justified the decision to freeze the union because of our participation in the federation of Sudanese civil society organisations, and because we did not accept invitations from the Ministry of Culture.”
Shenger is happy about the court's decision. He announced the return of Union's activity after it has received its confiscated property, which he expects to see in the next few days.
Originally founded in 1985, the Union has been registered to hold cultural and intellectual seminars, film screenings and musical nights with writers. It promoted dialogue which emphasise on the freedom of expression.
During the last years, the Sudanese security service, commissioned by Sudanese ministeries, has shut down organisations and centres and confiscated their property without providing written justifications in most cases.
Organisations that have been closed include the Sudan Social Development Organisation (Sudo, in 2009), the Sudanese Studies Centre (2012), the Nuba Mountains-based Organisation for Human Rights and Development (2012), El Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development, which was Khartoum’s leading pro-democracy think-tank (KACE, 2012), the Cultural Forum for Literary Criticism (2012), the House of Arts (2013), the Aslan English language teaching centre (2013), the Centre for Civil Society Development (2014), Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre (2014), and the Sudan Human Rights Monitor, founded by Dr Amin Mekki Madani (2014).
In January 2015, the Ministry of Culture cancelled the registration of the Mahmoud Mohamed Taha Centre in Omdurman and the National Civil Forum. The Sudan Human Rights Monitor said a month later that the Sudanese authorities began to restrict civil society organisations in the run-up to the Sudanese election.
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