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UN commissioner worried over health of detained Sudanese politicians

December 12 - 2014 KHARTOUM

The spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated she is concerned about Sudan's method of silencing political criticism by detaining people. She noted that the detention of several prominent political figures, of whom two are diabetic and need daily medication, in Khartoum is “the most recent high-profile case”.

Ravina Shamdasani was referring to the detention of Faroug Abu Eisa, Dr Amin Mekki Madani, Dr Farah El Agar, and Mohamed El Doud, on 6 December, in a press statement released on Friday. “We have received information indicating that there are serious concerns about the health and safety of Dr Medani, 76 years, and Dr Eisa, 78 years. Both men require essential daily medication as they are diabetic and Dr Medani has high blood pressure while Dr Eissa suffers from cyanosis.”

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, the spouse of Abu Eisa, the leader of the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties), revealed that a security office in Khartoum refused to collect the medicines and food items, she brought for her husband on Thursday. Nemat Abdelmonim Abdelsalam: “He needs his medicines and special food, but the security refused to take it from me.

“I was not allowed to visit my husband. I can visit him after two weeks, they said. Meanwhile, our families are worried about his health.” Abdelsalam requested the Sudanese government to immediately release her husband and the three other detainees. She indicated that the security still did not want to inform her about where the four men are being held.

Trend of arrests against printers

Shamdasani stated that the government is “required by its international human rights obligations to inform arrested individuals of the grounds for their arrest through an arrest warrant, to guarantee their safety, disclose their whereabouts, grant access to their family members and lawyers, and to provide any medical assistance they may require”.

She urged Khartoum to release the men as legal charges are absent, or to promptly charge them with a recognisable offence, and bring them to justice.

The spokesman added that there is a worrying trend of prosecuting owners and employees of printing firms. “This is apparently aimed at restricting the printing and distribution of independent material deemed critical of the ruling party,” she said.

Security officers detained Abu Eisa and Madani, chairman of the Sudanese Civil Society Initiative, in Khartoum on 6 December, 24 hours after they had returned from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, where they had signed the Sudan Appeal, a political communiqué calling for regime change. El Agar, legal consultant of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, and El Doud, the head of his office were detained on the same day. Their defence team handed a memorandum to several legal and advocacy bodies, demanding the detainees' immediate release.

File photo: A woman rests in a cell of the detention center in El Geneina, West Darfur (Unamid)

Related:

Defence team raises appeal to Sudan’s Constitutional Court (11 December 2014)

Two Sudan Appeal signatories, SPLM-N official detained (7 December 2014)


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