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Lawyers demand Sudan security hand deported activist to prosecution

November 26 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Mohamed El Boshi has been detained and is facing several charges which carry death penalty (HRW)
Mohamed El Boshi has been detained and is facing several charges which carry death penalty (HRW)

The defence team of Mohamed El Boshi, who was deported from Cairo by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS)) , has demanded that he be handed over to the State Security Prosecution and warned that failure to do so is a clear violation of Article 50 of the National Security Service Act and criminal procedures.

El Boshi (35) was reported missing in Cairo on October 10, after five armed men believed to be Egyptian security agents arrived at his apartment building and searched his apartment. News of the rights activist surfaced last week when the media official of Sudan’s national security agency, Mohamed Tebeidi, announced that a criminal charges for espionage and crimes against the state had been filed against El Boshi. These charges carry the death penalty.

In a statement released on Saturday, Defence lawyer Nabil Adib explained why it is necessary that El Boshi is handed over to the State Security Prosecutor and all documents and appendices thereof in order to complete procedures.

The defence explained that the announcement made on November 8 by Tebeidi means that the security apparatus has found preliminary evidence of the crimes they have charged him for. Therefore, El Boshi must be handed over to the State Security Prosecution. The defence added that "in case of absence of initial evidence, NISS shall release the suspect," citing under paragraph 1-I of Article 50.

In light of this, on November 19 the defence filed a request to the Under-Prosecutor of the State Security Prosecution to rectify the mistake and immediately hand over the detainee. No decision has been made by the security apparatus so far.

Arbitrary detentions

Sudanese officials have in recent years brought similar charges against other rights activists.

According to Human Rights Watch, Sudan’s draconian NISS is well-known for arbitrary detentions and abuse of detainees. Under the national security laws, officials have wide powers to arrest and detain people for up to four-and-a-half months without charge. The organisation and others have for years documented torture and abuse of detainees by NISS and urged reform of the agency.

El Boshi remains in national security custody, and family members and lawyers have not been permitted to visit him. Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch, made a statment on November 15:

“Having unlawfully detained him for weeks, Sudan has now charged him with serious crimes that carry the death penalty. They should drop the charges and release him immediately.”

Closer ties

Relations between Egypt and Sudan have warmed in recent months. In July, Egypt refused entry to a prominent opposition leader, El Sadig El Mahdi, and Sudan seems to have ordered several Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood dissidents to leave the country in 2017.

Khartoum has recently announced to lift bans on Egyptian industrial products and the entry of food products to Sudan, and will create a Media Code of Honour between the neighbouring countries.

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