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Darfur lawyers raise memo to UN against child’s detention

February 9 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Vehicles of the joint security and riot police force in Omdurman, November 2016 (RD)
Vehicles of the joint security and riot police force in Omdurman, November 2016 (RD)

The Darfur Bar Association submitted a memorandum to the UN High Commission for Human Rights and four international rights organisations, demanding an investigation into the arrest of the 16-year-old Ahmed Abdelrahim on January 31.

Member of the Darfur Bar Association (DBA), Jibril Adam Hasabo, told Radio Dabanga that Ahmed was arrested along with former opposition leader Ibrahim El Sheikh’s two daughters and two sisters – including Ahmed’s mother – from their family house in Khartoum Bahri that day.

According to Hasabo the family is worried about his treatment while in detention and the fact that the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) have not provided information about his whereabouts or allowed them to visit him.

Amani Malik, the wife of Ibrahim El Sheikh, who formerly chaired the Sudanese Congress Party, told Radio Dabanga that the NISS Information Department on the Airport Road refused to share their whereabouts with her.

“I am particularly worried about Ahmed because he suffers from bilharzia [schistosomiasis] and needs his medicines. I was happy that the security men of the Information Department accepted the medicines and clothes I brought on Friday morning.”

The lawyers of the DBA demanded in their memorandum, which they submitted on Wednesday, the immediate release of the boy.

Hasabo: “Copies of the memorandum were submitted to the commission, as well as the African Commission of Experts on the African Council on the Rights of the Child, the National Council for Mother and Child Care, and the Khartoum Centre.”

Convention of children rights

The memo focussed on the the fact that children should not be kept in detention, even if placed under arrest, according to the international law. “They should be placed under parental custody during the investigation.”

Sudan has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore the DBA also submitted the memo to the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) and to the representative of the UN Secretary-General based in Sudan.

More detentions

Ibrahim El Sheikh himself was arrested in Khartoum on January 7. The same day, the current chairman, Omar El Digeir, was held, together with two other leading party members in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan.

The actions are part of a nationwide detention campaign by the security apparatus in an attempt to thwart protests against Khartoum’s economic policies. New austerity measures, implemented in the first week of this year, led to huge price hikes. The prices of bread and medicines almost tripled.

In addition, the No Suppression for Women’s Initiative submitted a memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission in Khartoum on Wednesday. It condemned the arrests of women against the backdrop of peaceful protests against the recent price increases.

The initiative demanded their immediate release and allowing their families to visit them, and from the security apparatus to disclose their places of detention and health conditions.

The authorities sloud not confiscate the constitutional right to peaceful protests and freedom of expression, according to the initiative.

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