Sudan political leader, journalist reportedly tortured in detention
Activists held by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Sudan have been subject to torture, says the Committee of Families of Political Detainees. According to the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), at least 79 people are currently being detained incommunicado following the government crackdown on popular protests against its austerity measures.
After the government decided to liberalise the prices of basic consumer goods and raise the customs rate of the US Dollar from SDG 6.7 to SDG 18 in early January, daily expenses doubled and in many cases tripled for the Sudanese public.
Spontaneous protests erupted in various Sudanese cities. Activist political parties such as the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), the Communist Party of Sudan (CPoS), and the National Umma Party (NUP) called for mass rallies and demonstrations.
The NISS reacted by detaining a large number of leading party members. The Sudanese press was ordered not to cover the protests. Journalists who did were held as well, including correspondents of Reuters and AFP.
“El Khateeb was forced to sit on a chair facing a wall for hours, without regard to his age and health conditions.”
Communist Party Spokesman Fathi Fadul told this station on Sunday that at least 400 political activists were being held by the NISS in the country, including Omar El Digeir, President of the Sudanese Congress Party, Sara Nugdallah, NUP Secretary-General, Mohamed Mukhtar el Khateeb, CPoS Secretary-General, and Siddig Yousef, member of the CPoS Political Bureau.
In a statement on Friday, the Committee condemned “the cruel treatment” of Mohamed Mukhtar El Khateeb.
“El Khateeb was forced to sit on a chair facing a wall for hours, without regard to his age and health conditions,” the statement reads. Journalist Amal Habani was tortured as well.
Radio Dabanga reported earlier that Habani was allegedly hit with an electric baton during an interrogation.
The Committee as well denounced the rejection of the NISS to accept medical files and medicines for the detainees, and warned for serious health complications concerning detainees suffering from chronic ailments.
The statement further mentions plans to address “the grave human rights violations” against the detainees by organising protest vigils and Constitutional appeal procedures.
“ACJPS has received disturbing reports of individuals being subjected to ill-treatment or torture whilst in detention and during the dispersal of protests.”
The New York-based ACJPS has documented the detention of 131 people for their involvement or suspected involvement in the anti-price hike protests that took place between January 13 and 21.
In a statement on Monday, the Centre expressed its concerns for the safety of 79 of them, who were still being held incommunicado.
“ACJPS has received disturbing reports of individuals being subjected to ill-treatment or torture whilst in detention and during the dispersal of protests,” the statement reads.
The Centre as well condemns the violence used to disperse the demonstrators. “ACJPS observed that during the crackdown on the protests, high-ranking officials in the NISS and Police looked the other way as their subordinates beat up protestors. It was also observed that some NISS members disguised their faces with a cloth making it difficult to identify them.”
The Government of Sudan should guarantee the physical safety of those in custody, grant the detainees immediate and unequivocal access to their lawyers and family members, and release them in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international standards. If such charges exist, the detainees should be brought promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times, ACJPS concludes.
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