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The Observatory: Urgent appeal against 'judicial harassment' of Sudanese human rights defender

April 3 - 2021 KHARTOUM
Human rights defender Khadeeja El Deweihi (The Observatory)
Human rights defender Khadeeja El Deweihi (The Observatory)

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture and FIDH, has requested urgent intervention into the case of "judicial harassment of Khadeeja El Deweihi, which seems to be used to target her legitimate human rights activities" in Sudan.

The Observatory expressed its concern "about the use of the Cybercrimes Act to target human rights defenders and online critics in Sudan" in an urgent appeal on Thursday. The statement calls on the Sudanese authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure their right to freedom of expression is duly respected and protected.

The Observatory also urged the authorities in Sudan to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against El Deweihi, and all human rights defenders in the country.

The Sudanese human rights defender was charged with publishing “false news” under Article 24 the 2018 Cybercrime Act, based on Facebook post discussing the health situation in Sudan, announced the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) last week.

The statement also condemned acts of harassment against women’s rights defender and blogger Waad Bahjat, who was sentenced to six months (suspended) in prison and a fine of SDG10,000 by the Khartoum criminal court on Wednesday.

In a statement, ACJPS urged the Sudanese authorities “to respect and guarantee the right to freedom of expression as provided for in article 56 of the 2019 Constitutional Declaration and international and regional human rights treaties that Sudan is a state party to.” The organisation also called on the government “to ensure that this freedom is protected both online and off-line,” and “instruct its law enforcement agencies to cease harassment and intimidation of individuals exercising their rights legitimately.”

ACJPS has previously called on the authorities to take the necessary steps, legislative and others, to put an end to discriminatory actions that impair equal enjoyment of rights by women.

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