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Two Sudanese activists held incommunicado in Saudi Arabia

January 22 - 2017 NEW YORK
Poster saying that civil obedience is the choice of the people
Poster saying that civil obedience is the choice of the people

Saudi authorities are reportedly holding two Sudanese activists in Riyadh because of their support for last month’s civil disobedience action in Sudan.

In an Urgent Action call on Tuesday, Amnesty International-USA reported that El Gasim Mohamed Sid Ahmed (52) and El Waleed Imam Hassan Taha (44) were detained on 21 December 2016, as they left their office in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.

They are being arbitrarily detained in El Ha’ir prison, Riyadh, and have been denied contact with their families and lawyers. Both can be considered “prisoners of conscience”, Amnesty International says.

Ahmed is the founder of a public Facebook group called ‘The Tragedy of the Military and the Keizan [Islamist] Governance in Sudan’, which according to his family was critical of the Sudanese government. The site has been hacked since his arrest. Imam is a member of the same group.

Both men voiced support on social media for the Sudanese civil disobedience action on 19 December last year, in protest against austerity measures imposed by Khartoum the month before.

They have been detained incommunicado since their arrest on 21 December, raising fears they might be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Their families also fear that they may be deported to Sudan where they would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, Amnesty International states.

The international human rights organisation calls for the immediate release of the detainees, and stresses that their rights must be guaranteed by international law.

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