Lawyers prevented from visiting West Darfur detainees in Port Sudan prison

On Tuesday, the Port Sudan Prison administration in Red Sea state prevented the delegation of the Defence Committee for North and West Darfur Detainees from meeting detainees from West Darfur who are on hunger strike in the prison.

The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) said in a press statement later that day that the prison administration clearly violated the law by not allowing the lawyers to visit their clients.

The DBA stated they received reports about the transfer of 40 detainees from the Port Sudan Local Prison to the Port Sudan General Prison, in order to mislead a visiting human rights delegation to the prison.

The Darfur lawyers strongly regrets “the absence of the Rule of Law in the country and the dominance of certain power centres, noting that “Darfur has become subject to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander and his aides who remain outside the scope of jurisdiction over procedural legitimacy in the state, the exclusive jurisdiction of the Attorney General and the jurisdiction of the judiciary”.

The statement accused the governors of the five Darfur states that “they have become mere tools for implementing the directives of RSF”. The country’s prison administrations in turn “have become subject to the orders of state governors and the RSF”.

The Defence Committee for West and North Darfur Detainees on Monday on Monday sent a delegation to Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, by land, after news of the detainees on hunger strike was no longer available.

Lawyer Nafeesa Hajar (Supplied)

In a press statement the defence team said that the delegation, that includes lawyers Nafeesa Hajar and Rehab Mubarak, left for Port Sudan to inspect the conditions of the detainees, who embarked on an open-ended hunger strike on December 10.

Communication with the detainees stopped 11 days ago after the release of 14 of the detainees.

The defence committee expressed “its deep regret at the lack of attention of the United Nations, its agencies, international and national organisations concerned with human rights, and the Forces for Freedom and Change alliance to the injustice  the Darfuri detainees are facing”.

The lawyers reported that the Port Sudan Prison administration promised to release a number of detainees and transferred them to another place, before returning them to their prison cells at a later time, because of a visit by a delegation of human rights organisations who visited the prison to inspect the conditions of the convicts.

The statement said that the detainees who have not been charged can only be released by an order of the acting governor of West Darfur.