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NISS interrogates SCP member upon return in Sudan

April 24 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Mastour Ahmed Mohamed, the SCP secretary-general (file photo)
Mastour Ahmed Mohamed, the SCP secretary-general (file photo)

The Sudanese security service arrested the secretary-general of the Sudanese Congress Party, Mastour Ahmed Mohamed, at Khartoum airport on the moment of his arrival by airplane.

He was taken to the offices of the National Intellige and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum and interrogated for hours, before being released on the same day.

Mastour was appointed by the Sudanese Congress Party’s (SCP) central council as interim president of the party after the detention of Vice-President Khaled Omar on February 23.

The SCP is the most activist opposition party in Sudan. Members regularly demand democracy, justice, and restoration of freedoms at public places in the country, and party leaders publicly call for regime change. The NISS is known to just as regularly detains activists of the party.

After his release yesterday, Mastour told Radio Dabanga that his plane landed in Sudan at 1am. “I was informed on arrival that I would be detained. The NISS agents seized my passport and transferred me to their offices.”

He said that the agents told him the reason for his interrogation: the statements he made in December last year against the plans of the annual budget of 2018, and his call upon Sudanese people to take to the streets.

“They said that there had been an arrest warrant waiting for me since then, but now they cannot arrest me as a result of the instruction to release all political detainees. And so, they released me.”

Violation of rights’

The interim president of the opposition party described his arrest at Khartoum airport and being held for hours as a detention and violation of the basic rights enshrined in the constitution and international human rights covenants.

“What happened this time is that there is a difference in the form of the investigation, compared to previous detentions. “Bbut in the end, it is an arrest and violation of fundamental rights and freedom of opinion and expression.”

Mastour was arrested in December 2016, during the civil disobedience campaign against the Sudanese government’s announcement to liberalise the fuel and medicine markets. This was combined with other austerity measures which hiked prices and had a substantial knock-on economic effect.

SCP chairman Omar Yousif El Digeir had been detained in prison for 80 days before his release on March 28. According to his party, El Digeir’s health deteriorated in prison.

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