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‘Sudan's Director of Prisons talks tough to hunger strikers’: JEM

September 1 - 2013 KHARTOUM

The Director General of Prisons, Major General Abu Obeida Suleiman, has allegedly threatened he would “physically purge the prisoners of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) if they do not lift their hunger strike”, the JEM leadership has said in a statement to Radio Dabanga.

The movement said in a statement on Friday that the Director-General of Prisons visited Kober prison in Khartoum at 5pm on Thursday, and addressed the prisoners who are on hunger strike.

As reported by Radio Dabanga earlier this month, the JEM detainees began a hunger strike on 12 August, protesting what they described as “cruel treatment” by prison warders. The former head of JEM intelligence, Abdel Aziz Usher, and others have allegedly been moved to the death row solitary confinement block. Last Monday, prisoners throughout Sudan joined the hunger strike “in solidarity with the JEM detainees”.

The JEM statement claims that during Thursday’s visit to the prison, Suleiman levelled tough words to the inmates. “We've got the power, wealth, aircraft, and vehicles that enable us to do whatever we want. You cannot bend our hands since it is our right to act like what we want against any person in all of Sudan,” the movement claims Suleiman said.

He allegedly continued: “I am warning you for the last time to abandon the chaos you are involved in. Otherwise I will personally show you something you have never seen in your lives… if I kill you all nobody would ask me why.”

In its statement, the JEM held “the prison administration, the Ministries of Interior, Justice, and Security and the Intelligence Services responsible for any harm that befalls against the prisoners on hunger strike.

The movement then directed “a special warning to the Director General of prisons, Major General Abu Obeida Suleiman” and called on the civil society organisations and the international community to intervene and put pressure on Khartoum to stop the torture of prisoners.

Radio Dabanga was unable to independently confirm Major General Suleiman’s alleged comments.


Wives and relatives of the JEM detainees have told Radio Dabanga that the administration of Kober prison has launched a harsh regime for the JEM detainees. They have reportedly been separated from other prisoners and are being kept incommunicado.

“Those who have not been put in solitary confinement are now into their seventh day of hunger strike,” a detainee’s wife said. “The prison authorities have confiscated all their belongings, their mobile phones, their luggage and their matrasses, as well as cutting the water and electricity in their cells.”

The source said that “at least four of the prisoners have fainted due to psychological and physical torture”.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Legislation and Justice, Haj Suleiman, has said that that “parliament has not received a formal complaint a violation of the rights of JEM detainees.”

He described the hunger strike as “a means of putting pressure on the prison administration to achieve the goals of the JEM detainees”.

In the meantime, it has been reported that the families of the 47 JEM detainees on Thursday filed a memorandum to the Minister of Justice Mohammed Bishara Dosa, to release the convicts, as well as those included in a Presidential pardon of August 2011.

File photo

Related: Solidarity for JEM hunger strikers in Sudanese prisons (29 August 2013)


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