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Darfur lawyers: ‘No legal grounds to keep political prisoners’

The recently released JEM prisoners (JEM website)
The recently released JEM prisoners (JEM website)

The Sudanese transitional government has released three displaced people who had been detained for five years in Nyala prison in South Darfur. The government also released 21 members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) after years of detention.

On Thursday, the coordinator of the Central Darfur camps, El Shafee Abdallah told Radio Dabanga that the government released three displaced people from the Korea Prison in Nyala.

The released persons are camp coordinators Muhyeldin Ibrahim, (Kass), Abdallah Khamis (Zalingei), and Ibrahim Mohamed (North Darfur). Abdallah explained that they were sentenced to eight years imprisonment in January 2016.

Abdallah further said that still there are three other displaced, Elias Abdelaziz, Ibrahim Abdeljabbar, and Santino Abdallah, in the Korea Prison in Nyala. He appealed to the Sudanese authorities to release them immediately.

On Thursday, JEM issued a statement in which it announced the release of 21 affiliates who spent years in detention centres in various states in Sudan. The movement thanked those who have campaigned for, and supported the prisoners and their families throughout their imprisonment.

JEM spokesperson Moatasim Saleh stated that hundreds of their affiliates, as well as members of the Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) still remain in Sudanese detention centres, despite promises of Khartoum to release them.

Other political detainees

The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) in Khartoum welcomed the release of the JEM combatants, and urged the government to release all other political prisoners who have been detained during the deposed regime.

“All the political detainees have contributed to the revolution that ousted Al Bashir. Therefore, there is no reason for keeping them in detention centres anymore,” the statement said. “They should immediately release all political prisoners who were detained because they were opposing the deposed regime. Once the revolution succeeded and a new government is formed there is no reason to keep them behind bars anymore.”

The DBA also expressed its concerns about the continued detention of members of the Revolutionary Awakening Council, founded by former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, since November 2017.

“There is no legal ground for the detention of these people under the transitional government, they must release all those who were detained for political reasons during Al Bashir regime,” the statement concluded. 

Mohamed El Taayshi, Member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council and Spokesperson for the government delegation for the current peace talks in Juba, confirmed the government's commitment to “the unconditional release of all prisoners who affiliated or allegedly affiliated with rebel groups”. 

On February 27, Radio Dabanga reported that one of the affiliates of former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal died in the prison of El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, and that another detained member has become completely blind, allegedly through torture, ill-treatment, and denial of health care.


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