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Trial against 10 TRACKS activists resumes in Sudan

December 14 - 2016 KHARTOUM
File photo
File photo

The trial of ten staff members and affiliates of the Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), an organisation which provides training on a range of issues from IT to human rights, resumed on Tuesday Khartoum Criminal Court.

The charges against them include Crimes against the State, some of which carry the death sentence or life imprisonment.

The activists, who include TRACKS Director Khalafallah El Afif Mukhtar, trainer Midhat Afifeldin Hamdan, and the director of El Zargaa Organisation for Rural Development, Mustafa Adam, have now been detained for more than seven months, facing charges of criminal conspiracy, undermining the constitutional order, war against the State, espionage and terrorism.

Lawyer Nabil Adeeb, chairman of the defence team told Radio Dabanga that the security apparatus complainant continued his statement before the court in which he accused the TRACS activists of “inciting the people against the regime and reporting to the International Criminal Court about human rights in Sudan without displaying supporting documents”. He pointed out that the complainant’s reliance on sources, without bringing them to the court, is considered unreliable hearsay.

He was astonished at the accusation that TRACKS communicated reports to the International Criminal Court on human rights violations He said he explained to the complainant that the jurisdiction of the ICC is limited to what occurred in Darfur during a specific of period time.

Adeeb said that the court will continue at the next session to hear and question the defendant Mustafa Adam.

Open letter to UN

On Monday, more than 40 Sudanese, regional and international organisations and individuals addressed open letter to the United Nations Special Procedures, urging the UN human rights groups and commissioners to call on the Government of Sudan to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against the activists.

A detailed report attached to the letter points out that officers of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) raided the premises of TRACKS in downtown Khartoum in March 2015. They conducted a second raid in February 2016.

TRACKS staff and affiliates present at the TRACKS office during the February 2016 raid received telephone calls instructing them to report to the NISS office in the Amarat area of Khartoum on 22 May. Nine staff members and affiliates reported to the NISS. The seven men among them were detained “in a 3m by 5m cell with twenty one other detainees at the NISS Prosecutor’s office”.

On 22 May, the NISS reactivated the criminal case against Khalafallah Mukhtar, Director of TRACKS director, and Adil Bakheet, a well-known human rights trainer, following the 2015 raid. They were charged with seven offences, including three under the category of crimes against the state.

Three staff members and a volunteer detained in February this year were released on bail in May and June. Khalafalla Mukhtar, Midhat Hamdan and Mustafa Adam are still detained, since 15 August in El Huda prison.

The defendants have been accused of being responsible for the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment against President Omar al Bashir and the application of US sanctions against Sudan, despite both events taking place years before the establishment of TRACKS in 2013.

It has also been alleged that TRACKS has been conducting work on behalf of and has a financial relationship with the El Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), a pro-democracy NGO that also worked to promote multiculturalism in Sudan before it was closed by the authorities in 2012.

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