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International call for Sudan to release detainees

February 13 - 2022 OSLO / LONDON / WASHINGTON / OTTAWA / BERN / BRUSSELS
File photo
File photo

The recent pattern of arrests and detentions of civil society activists, journalists, and humanitarian workers occurring throughout Sudan these last weeks, is “wholly inconsistent with the [Sudan junta’s] stated commitment to participate constructively in a facilitated process to resolve Sudan’s political crisis to return to a democratic transition”.

A joint statement by the Sudan Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the USA), Canada, Switzerland, and the European Union, says that the countries are” alarmed by the February 9 arrests and detentions of several high-profile political figures. The statement points out that “these troubling actions are part of a recent pattern of arrests and detentions of civil society activists, journalists, and humanitarian workers occurring throughout Sudan these last weeks.

“We condemn this harassment and intimidation on the part of Sudan’s military authorities. This is wholly inconsistent with their stated commitment to participate constructively in a facilitated process to resolve Sudan’s political crisis to return to a democratic transition.”

In the statement, the signatory countries call for “an immediate end to such practices and for the immediate release of all those unjustly detained”.

The countries “remind Sudan’s military authorities of their obligations to respect the human rights and guarantee the safety of those detained or arrested and the need to ensure that due process is consistently followed in all cases.”

In conclusion, the statement suggests that the lifting of the State of Emergency, declared at the time of the military coup d’état of October 25 2021, would send a positive signal.

Lawyers questioned the validity of the legal measures taken against members of the now-suspended Empowerment Removal Committee* (ERC), who were detained on Wednesday. An adviser to Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), refused to call the arrests ‘political’.

On Wednesday, the police authorities arrested ERC members Khaled Omar, Wajdi Saleh, and El Tayeb Osman after an official complaint, related to ‘a breach of trust’, was made against them by the Ministry of Finance.


* The full name of the committee is the Committee for Dismantling the June 30 1989 Regime, Removal of Empowerment and Corruption, and Recovering Public Funds. It was established by the government of Abdallah Hamdok at the end of 2019 with the aim to purge Sudan of the remnants of the Al Bashir regime. Empowerment (tamkin) is the term with which the ousted government of Omar Al Bashir supported its affiliates by granting them far-going privileges, including government functions, the setting-up of various companies, and tax exemptions.


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