JEM detainees on hunger strike in Sudanese prison
Members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who are being detained in Khartoum North Common Prison (also known as Kober prison) began a hunger strike on Monday protesting what they described as “cruel treatment” by prison warders.
In a statement this week, JEM spokesman Jibril Adam Bilal accused the Sudanese authorities of “inflecting cruel and inhumane treatment on JEM members jailed in Kober prison”.
Bilal stressed that Abdel Aziz Usher, the former head of JEM intelligence, has been particularly targeted. “He has been placed in a solitary confinement in Kober prison in a cell normally reserved for prisoners awaiting their turn for execution,” said Bilal. “The cell where Usher is being detained is full of rainwater with overflowing sewage," said Bilal, stressing that "such conditions prevent him from sleeping.”
Speaking to Radio Dabanga on Tuesday, Bilal announced that the JEM detainees “have decided to begin an indefinite hunger strike which would only be lifted when prison authorities refrain from exercising psychological and physical torture, unshackle them, and allow visits from family and human rights organisations”.
Bilal said that the JEM holds the prison authorities responsible for the safety and health conditions of its affiliates and demanded improving their family, health, human, and psychological conditions.
Sudanese courts sentenced about 70 JEM members, including Usher, to death after an attack they mounted on Khartoum in May 2008.
None of the condemned rebels has been executed, but Khartoum has refused to free them within the framework of a goodwill agreement providing for exchange prisoners under the auspices of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. Only a few were released under pressure from the mediation and Qatari government which facilitated the talks.
Sudan transfers JEM prisoners to death row: Rebels (17 June 2013)
JEM warns against threats to prisoners in Omdurman (5 May 2012)
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