Darfur sheikh’s release welcomed
International organisations including Amnesty International have welcomed the release yesterday of Sheikh Matar Younis, a visually impaired religious teacher who was arrested by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Zalingei city, Central Darfur on 1 April and charged with espionage.
Following news that the Sudanese authorities have released from prison and dismissed the trumped-up charges against human rights defender and teacher Matar Younis Ali Hussein, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki said:
“Matar Younis is a courageous human rights defender and one of the rare voices speaking for the oppressed people of Darfur. His release is a positive development, although he should never have been arrested in the first place. He was targeted simply for speaking up against human rights violations.
“Rather than trying to intimidate and harass him, the Sudanese authorities should take note of his human rights work to improve its troublesome human rights record and create an environment where people can freely exercise their right to freedom of expression.
“Sudanese authorities must now quickly follow this move by also dropping all charges against Husham Ali Mohammed Ali, another human rights defender, who faces the death penalty on similar trumped-up charges. The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release him,” said Nyanyuki.
Sheikh Younis, a visually impaired religious teacher who was arrested by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Zalingei city, Central Darfur on 1 April and charged with espionage, was released today in Khartoum.
His co-accused, merchant Adam Haroun, was also released. Both accused were arrested in Darfur and were transferred to Khartoum’s notorious Kober prison, however two weeks ago, the State Security Prosecution withdrew the complaints against them.
The sheik’s arrest prompted an international chorus of condemnation calling for his immediate release. These included Amnesty International who released a worldwide appeal.
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