Sudanese lawyers, activists call on Gen El Burhan to reverse putsch
A group of Sudanese bar associations, civil society organisations, and individual lawyers have presented a memorandum to Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and former chairman of the now dissolved Sovereignty Council, calling on him to respect the stipulations of the Constitutional Document, signed by the then military junta and the Forces for Freedom and Change in August 2019.
In the memorandum dated October 29, of which Radio Dabanga received a copy, the signatories express their serious concern about the safety and future of the country.
“Regarding the dangers, security threats, and based on our responsibility towards the country and its people, while being committed to the principles of the peaceful 2018 December Revolution, we urge you to respect the principles of peace, justice, democracy, a civil state, and the Rule of Law, that are the same principles on which the Constitutional Document is based and form the basis for the roadmap for the transitional period,” the memo states.
“We are taking our responsibility as citizens, while exercising our constitutional and legal right actively and positively,” the signatories state. They want to give sincere advice and warn of dangers and threats to political and social stability.
They call on Gen El Burhan to stay committed to the Constitutional Document, our Sudanese customs and values, and international and regional treaties, and point out that the announcement of the State of Emergency by El Burhan following the coup last Monday is not legitimate, as the correct procedures for such an announcement were not followed.
“It is not to the chairman of the Sovereignty Council whose presidency will end on November 15, nor the SAF Commander-in-Chief to announce the State of Emergency [..] or suspend Articles 11-12-15-16-24 and items 3, 71, and 72 of the Constitutional Document.”
'The political detainees must be given the opportunity to receive the necessary medical treatment and meet their physician, their relatives, and lawyers or legal consultants to their choice.'
The signatories urge the release of all political detainees, including a number of Ministers. At least, it should be made known where they are held, “as holding detainees incommunicado is unlawful and a violation of international treaties”.
They say that some of the detainees are wounded as a result of “torture and excessive violence” used against them. They must be given the opportunity “to receive the necessary medical treatment and meet their physician, their relatives, and lawyers or legal consultants to their choice”.
The group further calls on El Burhan “to lift the State of Emergency and the consecutive actions that affect freedoms and basic rights violating the relevant international treaties”, and immediately reinstate the full Constitutional Document and the dissolved boards of government institutions, and enable Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the Council of Ministers to resume their work.
They point to the achievements realised under the leadership of Hamdok during the transitional period, “concerning relations with the international community and financial institutions, and the lifting Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) and other achievement, which will only be denied by the arrogant and ungrateful.
“We therefore see the importance to build on these [achievements] and develop them for the sake of Sudan, so that our country will not be targeted with political and economic sanctions - which already have begun with the suspension of regional and international memberships of Sudan, and economic support.
“You do have experience with ruling [a state] during the transitional period. Though it was for a short period, it constituted a lesson that taught you to manage a state that inherited a plethora of social and political problems and an economic crisis. Therefore, the undersigned see that a serious and deep dialogue with all components of the Sudanese people is the only way to the stability and security of the country,” the memo concludes.
The memorandum was signed by 27 lawyers and 12 civil society organisations, including the Sudan Doctors Syndicate, the General Banks Union, the Darfur Bar Association, the Nuba Mountains Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Initiative for Change, the No to Women Oppression Initiative, the Political and Civilian Women Group (Mansam), and the Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment (KACE).
Last week, armed forces detained officials and journalists after they publicly criticised the coup.
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