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'Defending human rights in Sudan is no crime': Dr Mudawi

October 2 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Dr Mudawi Ibrahim pictured with his family on the night of his release on 29 August 2017 (photo courtesy of Mudawi family)
Dr Mudawi Ibrahim pictured with his family on the night of his release on 29 August 2017 (photo courtesy of Mudawi family)

“Defending human rights is not a crime,” says the Sudanese human rights defender and university professor who recently defeated the prosecution after eight months of detention.

“The government is obliged under international conventions it has signed to provide protection for human rights defenders,” said professor Dr Mudawi Ibrahim in an interview with Radio Dabanga, for the Milafaat Sudaniya programme.

“We are human rights defenders, neither agents nor criminals, working to support the victims and defend the civil, political, social and cultural rights of the Sudanese citizen.”

He used the opportunity to call on the civil society organisations in Sudan “to work together in one mechanism, with a unified position, to carry out such campaigns for others”.

Dr Mudawi was arrested on 7 December from the campus of Khartoum University, where he lectures in engineering. His detention prompted a chorus of condemnation for the highest levels of the international community including the United Nations and African Union.

The professor embarked on several hunger strikes during his detention and his family appealed repeatedly to the Sudanese government to release him. In May, the prosecution charged Dr Mudawi on six charges including ‘undermining the constitutional system’ and ‘waging war against the state', both of which carry either the death penalty or life imprisonment. All charges against him have now been dropped.

The co-accused of Dr Mudawi, Hafez Idris El Doma, has not been released from custody so far, despite the Republican decree by Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir to pardon him and four others. El Doma was arrested along with Dr Mudawi in December last year.

Dr El Bagir El Afif, the head of El Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), a pro-democracy NGO that also worked to promote multiculturalism in Sudan before it was closed by the authorities in 2012, said that the Sudanese government “does not care about human rights because it is not a priority”.

Yesterday he commented on the recent UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sudan. El Afif said that the Sudanese government “is not interested in improving the level of human rights, but in violating human rights.

“The security service in Sudan is given great powers to expropriate and violate human rights so that our society remains trapped by repressive force.”

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