Sudan lawyers condemn ‘SAF and Minawi’s forces violent crackdowns on women’

Displaced women in North Darfur (File photo: Albert González Farran / UNAMID)

In the turmoil following Sudan’s war, women have faced increasing threats, including kidnapping, detentions, and other assaults. Recent reports highlight the severity of their plight, with cases of women being tortured, and even sentenced to death.

Last week, intelligence forces from the Sudan Liberation Movement faction under the leadership of Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), detained a human rights activist in El Fasher, North Darfur. Military Intelligence held a member of the Communist Party in Shendi, River Nile state. These detentions are part of a broader pattern of targeting women in the ongoing conflict.

Radio Dabanga’s programmes documented numerous cases, including three young women arrested in River Nile state. Accused of collaborating with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), one of them died in custody, another was sentenced to death, and the third was acquitted.

In Atbara, two women, Inam Kheiry and Salma Hasan, fled Khartoum’s violence only to be detained by SAF’s Military Intelligence. Kheiry died in prison in November 2023, having spent five months without trial. Hasan, tried and acquitted after eight months, was charged under articles 50/51 of the 1991 Criminal Code for crimes against the state. 

Lawyer Afrah El Kheir pointed to the unjust nature of these charges, explaining that the reports against the women are often baseless and driven by personal vendettas. Aya Mustafa, another woman detained, faced a death sentence based on old photos of her in RSF attire, which were not criminalised at the time.

Investigations are sluggish, with detainees often spending weeks in police custody before being formally charged. El Kheir noted that no evidence suggested the women were tortured, but the prolonged detentions and lack of due process are alarming.

Human rights activist Siham Hasan was forcibly taken from her home in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, by armed men, later identified as belonging to the SLM-MM. Detained for nine days, she was threatened and questioned without evidence. After her release, she reported that many detainees in El Fasher, held at UNAMID’s former headquarters, are kept in harsh conditions, with some in solitary confinement or containers.

Human rights groups and Sudanese civil society are urged to investigate the hidden prisons and unknown detainee numbers, highlighting the need for international oversight. These cases show severe consequences for women in Sudan’s conflict, demanding immediate action to protect vulnerable populations and ensure accountability for human rights violations.


The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Network on Sunday reported a surge in cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), including rape, against women in Sennar and Singa, the capital of Sennar state. The report also indicates an estimated 1,000 people, including 91 children, who have disappeared since the RSF seized control of Singa last week.

Sennar, previously a centre for humanitarian aid, and sexual and reproductive health care, had been a designated safe zone ever since the RSF attacks on El Gezira.

There is an urgent need for decisive support, including humanitarian aid, to save lives, alleviate suffering, and preserve human dignity, SIHA stated. This support includes food, water, feminine hygiene supplies, and access to sexual and reproductive health care, including emergency services.