Director’s house raided, trainers remain detained in Sudan

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) detained two family members after storming the family houses of the director of a political organisation in Omdurman on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, members of a training centre have been detained for nearly three weeks.

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) stormed the family houses of the director of a political organisation in Omdurman on Sunday morning, and detained two of his brothers. Meanwhile, members of a training centre have been detained for nearly three weeks.

The director of El Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment (Kace), El Bagir El Afif, spoke to Radio Dabanga the same day, expressing his annoyance at the raids. Kace is among the civil society organisations that have been shut down by Sudanese authorities in recent years.

“The security apparatus targeted all the houses of my family from Saturday night until Sunday morning,” El Afif said. He said that the NISS took a laptop, belonging to university students, as well as some official papers – “to look for evidence to condemn my family members or Tracks centre”.

Since 2013, Tracks Training and Human Development Centre has given computer training, qualifying graduates to obtain international computer certifications, in addition to training in the field of human development.

'The security service intends to silence civil society organisations and monitor the others'

The NISS raided the houses of El Afif's family in El Salha, El Thora, and El Fitehab for unknown reasons, detaining his brothers Haidar and Jamal. They were released later. “The house of my mother was also targeted, without taking into account her situation as a patient, and that the agents terrorised the children,” the director said.

He condemned the behaviour of the NISS agents towards his family and the members of Tracks centre. “These are good citizens working in the field of training, computer software, project management and training on human rights.

Tracks members detained

“Targeting Tracks centre [by Sudanese authorities, RD] is targeting an output of public policy, intended to silence civil society organisations, and let the rest of the organisations be monitored by the security service.”

On 29 February the security service raided Tracks centre, arrested all the employees, and interrogated them before referring them to the state security prosecution. A number of members of Tracks centre are still held in detention by the NISS.

On 26 March 2015, the centre was raided during a training session by dozens of heavily armed security forces.

El Afif said that the judicial organ has not charged any members so far, as their detention now enters its third week. “The judicial apparatus failed to provide evidence to convict them.”

He claimed that the detainees are held inside cells “that lack any humanity and do not take into account the circumstances of the holy month of Ramadan”.

Organisations targeted

El Afif appealed to the Sudanese government “to immediately stop the blatant targeting of institutions and civil society organisations”.

During the last years, the NISS has shut down a large number of organisations and centres and confiscated their property without providing written justifications in most cases.

The organisations that have been closed include Kace, the Sudanese Studies Centre, Sudo Organisation, House of Arts, Salma Centre, and the Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights. In January 2015, the Ministry of Culture cancelled the registration of the Mahmoud Mohamed Taha Centre in Omdurman, the National Civil Forum, and the Sudanese Writers’ Union, without citing reasons or relevant legislation.