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Doctors’ strike: Activists demand Sudan reveal detainees’ whereabouts

November 8 - 2016 KHARTOUM / LONDON
File photo: Doctors strike for improved working conditions in Sudan in 2016 (RD)
File photo: Doctors strike for improved working conditions in Sudan in 2016 (RD)

The suppression of the national strike in Sudan’s hospitals continues as the security service detained or summoned more than 62 doctors and medical specialists until Monday, according to the doctors’ union. A human rights organisation demands to know the whereabouts of the detainees.

The whereabouts of ten medical doctors remains unknown after being detained by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Amnesty reports in a press statement. The doctors, detained between 30 October and 6 November, “are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment”.

Doctors Husam Alamin (27 years), Abdallah Gorushi (28 years), Mohamed Elmujtaba (28), Jihad Abdelmonim (29), Mohamed Abdellatif (29), Omar Ahmed Saleh (29), Hasan Karar (30), Nasir Shaga Nasir (30), Ahmed Alabwabi (43), and Mohamed Bashir Hilali were detained after the Sudan Doctors Central Committee announced a nationwide strike in hospitals on 27 October, according to Amnesty International.

The ten detainees are part of a group of doctors that was detained and released again on 29 October, after the NISS questioned them for several hours “about their role in relation to the strike” and “their political affiliations”, Amnesty’s call for urgent action reads. They have been detained again by the security apparatus.

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, 19 doctors were released after interrogation, but are required to report to the NISS offices every day, from 8am to 10pm.

Detained or summoned

After a positive turnout of negotiations with the Ministry of Health, the doctors’ union decided to continue the strike, accusing the government of failing to meet its pledges to improve the overall health service. Doctors laid-down their tools in 60 Sudanese hospitals on 1 November. The Minister of Health finds the strike “irresponsible” and said that the government will “deal with it decisively”.

A member of the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, initiator of the week-long nationwide strike by doctors, said that seven doctors of the committee were detained on Sunday evening. Anaesthesiologist and medical author Dr Abdelgader Ginat is among the detainees.

“In total, 12 doctors are in detention now,” committee member Dr Mohamed Yassin told Radio Dabanga. “And the security service summoned ten doctors of our committee to appear at their office, meaning that until Monday, 50 doctors have been summoned in total”, since the start of this month.

'There are numerous reports of an intensified crackdown by the security service.'

Currently the strike – during which ‘cold cases’ are not treated but emergencies, critical situations, and intensive care treatment in the wards are – entered its third week after a pause last week. Throughout Sudan doctors demand from the Ministry of Health to secure their protection while working, a pay rise, and better working conditions.

A member of the Sudanese regular force assaulted Dr Nihad Omar, a deputy internist at Omdurman educational hospital, on Monday evening, Dr Yassin added. Also Amnesty International “has received numerous reports of an intensified NISS crackdown on the activities of political, student, civil society and trade union activists”.

The organisation has called on supporters to urge the Sudanese authorities to immediately disclose the whereabouts of the ten detained doctors and inform all doctors that are summoned to appear before the NISS, to inform them about the reasons for their detention.

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