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Relatives of Sudan opposition leaders still detained, including sick boy

February 5 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Activists of the Sudanese Congress Party in Khartoum call  for the release of political prisoners, August 2015 (SCP)
Activists of the Sudanese Congress Party in Khartoum call for the release of political prisoners, August 2015 (SCP)

Families of political detainees demanded their release in a memorandum handed to the head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum on Sunday. Relatives of the former president of the Sudanese Congress Party are still held incommunicado by the security apparatus in Khartoum. Among them is a boy (16) who needs medical attention.

A member of the families’ delegation to the NISS told Radio Dabanga. the security agents forced them to take place inside the reception room of the NISS director’s office.

“They did not want us to be seen standing on the street,” he said. “This is a violation of our right to freedom as well.”

Incommunicado

Amani Malik, the wife of Ibrahim El Sheikh, the opposition party’s former chairman, told Radio Dabanga that the whereabouts of her two daughters and three of their cousins are still unknown.

Malik said that her daughters Israa, a medical doctor, and Sheima (18) were visiting their aunt in El Safiya district in Khartoum North on Wednesday afternoon, when they were ordered to embark a NISS van.

“Security officers then stormed the house and took their cousins Abeer and Suheir, both mothers of very young children, and Ahmed (16) together with my daughters to an unknown destination.”

“The next morning, I went to the NISS Information Department on the Airport Road to ask about their whereabouts but the officers refused to disclose where they are being held,” she said.

“I am particularly worried about Ahmed because he suffers from bilharzia [schistosomiasis] and needs his medicines. I was happy that the security men of the Information Department accepted the medicines and clothes I brought on Friday morning.”

Malik said she went searching for her relatives at various police stations and NISS offices in Khartoum state. “I visited the Economic Security Department in Hillet Hamed as well, and saw there many detainees, including 50 young men, nine young women, and a number of elderly women.”

She further asserted that she stands with their detained relatives “in their conscious choice to peacefully fight for their rights to express their opinion”.

Detentions

El Sheikh himself was arrested in Khartoum on January 7. The same day, the current chairman, Omar El Digeir, was held, together with two other leading party members in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan.

The actions are part of a nationwide detention campaign by the security apparatus in an attempt to thwart protests against Khartoum’s economic policies. New austerity measures, implemented in the first week of this year, led to huge price hikes. The prices of bread and medicines almost tripled.

More than 450 opposition leaders and activists are currently being held in the country. A number of them have been transferred from Khartoum to prisons in Darfur.

The Sudanese Congress Party is well-known for activities at markets, bus stations, and other public places in the country, calling on the people to demand the restoration of liberties and democracy.


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