Darfur Bar Ass calls for release of 32 students accused of being ‘SLM-AW sabotage cell’
The Darfur Bar Association has called for the immediate release of 32 Darfuri students of the University of Sennar, who were arrested on December 23 and stand accused of being ‘a sabotage cell’ of the Abdelwahid faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW).
The students were detained by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) at their rented house in Sennar. The group was later shown on state television and presented as a cell belonging to the SLM-AW. According to their accusers in the NISS, they were allegedly “trained in Israel by the Mossad secret service and returned to Sudan to carry out acts of sabotage”.
In a memorandum to the Sudanese Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Sudan, a committee formed by the Darfur Bar Association to investigate the claim demands that the constitutional rights of the detained students be guaranteed. The committee decries that “the students’ rights have been squandered as they are subject to unlawful detention and trial through the media”. The memorandum further demands their immediate release, disclosure of their places of detention, and access to their families and legal counsel.
The committee also called for the immediate suspension of “trials, by media’ in Sudan, declaring their illegality and issuing the necessary directives to all state agencies to respect the constitution and binding international conventions.
The committee also called on the Attorney-General to investigate the reasons for the detention of innocent students and to take the necessary measures to prevent their re-arrest wherever they are released.
A fact-finding search by the Darfur Bar Association committee into the claims of the NISS revealed that the persons referred to in statements of the NISS director, the student secretariat of the National Congress Party and the Governor of the River Nile state, have nothing to do with the 32 Darfuri students who were arrested in Sennar five days later.
After inquiries the investigation committee found that the detained students from the University of Sennar have never left Sudan: “They are all first-year students, including Ahmed Makki, chair of the Darfuri Students Association of the Sennar University.”
‘Racist targeting of Darfuri students’
Speaking on social media, the SLM-AW leader mocked the government’s accusations of subversive schemes and opposition forces denounced racism against Darfur students. Abdelwahid El Nur, ridiculed the government’s accusations of his movement “by trying to manage subversive schemes by recruiting cells in Khartoum targeting the demonstrators who came out demanding the overthrow of the regime”.
The director of the NISS, Salah Abdallah, known as Salah Gosh, claimed last month that the movement was behind the vandalism and destruction of offices and buildings of the ruling National Congress Party and other government facilities during demonstrations against hunger and soaring prices across Sudan.
The Sudanese opposition forces, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Malik Agar and Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), in separate statements stepped up their campaign by denouncing what they called “racist targeting adopted by the authorities of students from the Darfur region”.
This came after the announcement that security and government forces had arrested students for use of weapons and tactics to target demonstrators, and large-scale vandalism. The Independent Student Conference said in a statement that many houses were raided. According to the organisation, “many detainees are student leaders active in the field of peaceful student work, and have nothing to do with armed or violent action.”
Until December 29, 41 students, mainly from the University of Sennar in eastern Sudan and El Azhari University in Khartoum, have been detained.
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