Kamal Omar Abdel-Salam, lawyer and political secretary of the Popular Congress Party, said the arrests of Darfuri activists in Khartoum last October was done for racist reasons. Speaking at a seminar held by Darfuri lawyers in solidarity with the detained activists and journalits, Kamal Abdel-Salam said that the arrests explicitly aimed to terrorize the people Darfur, especially human rights activists.
The arrests occurred at the end of last October when security authorities rounded up a number of people of Darfuri origin, including Jaafar Sabki, an editor of Al Sahafa newspaper, and Abdelrahman Adam Abdelrahman, an editor of Radio Dabanga and Abdelrahman Gasim, a prominent member of the Darfur Bar Association, among others.
Dr. Ismail Hussein Fadlallah, MP and leader of the opposition bloc in parliament, criticized the targeting of Darfuri men, calling such descrimination outside the bounds of the Constitution and the law. He stressed that the current regime does not respect the Constitution, which guarantees individual rights through its Bill of Rights. For his part, Mohamed Osman Abu-Ras, deputy secretary of the Baath Party of Sudan, said that problem is neither the Constitution nor flawed laws, but rather the regime which seized power and uses tools of repression to silence the voices of Darfuri human rights activists in particular, in order to cover up its crimes and atrocities. He said that arrests are not just a matter of concern for the people of Darfur, but also for the Sudanese nation.
Dr. Omar Al Qaray said that the oppostion parties are responsible for protecting citizens in the face of the oppression by the government. He called on the lawyers and heads of political parties to try to force the regime to release all detainees of Darfuri origin. He proposed that they continue with such seminars and extend invitations to the leaders of all parties. He proposed assessing the Sudanese public opinion and the positions the leaders of these parties on the arrests. Dr. Al Qaray also said they need to prepare a big rally in order to present a memorandum to the Attorney General condemning the arrests.
Other speakers at the Darfuri lawyers’ seminar included Mubarak Al Mahdi, leader of the Umma Party for Reform and Renewal, and Sheikh Hassan Abdullah Al Turabi, leader of the Popular Congress Party. Many human rights activists also participated. They unanimously agreed on the need to continue with such forums and seminars, as well as mass rallies, and to contact the Human Rights Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.