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West Darfur Imam arrested for speech on disputed land

May 8 - 2018 EL GENEINA
Men in Leeba, East Jebel Marra, gathered to pray and read the Koran, in 2015 (RD)
Men in Leeba, East Jebel Marra, gathered to pray and read the Koran, in 2015 (RD)

The Imam of a mosque in El Geneina was arrested on Saturday following a speech about a nearby disputed area. He called upon people to not abandon the land which they were forced to leave.

A relative of Sheikh Yousef Mohamed Abakar, Imam of the mosque in El Shati city district, informed Radio Dabanga about his arrest. It came against the backdrop of his address to the people of the disputed Gumeiyza area, east of El Geneina, in which the sheikh requested them to defend it and not abandon their land from which they had forcibly been displaced.

Sheikh Abakar was also arrested in the year 2012, the relative said, and he was taken to El Huda prison in Omdurman where he was detained for nine months.

Prisons overcrowded’

Siddig Yousef, the chairman of a solidarity committee for detainees in Sudan, said that despite the presidential decree to release all political detainees from prisons in Sudan, “the prisons remain overcrowded with detainees from Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

“Some of them have been accused of terrorism and will be tried on this basis while some are still awaiting trial in security cells.”

On April 10, President Omar Al Bashir issued a presidential decree, ordering the release of all political detainees in the country. Following the announcement international organisations such as Human Rights Watch and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) welcomed the move, yet expressed deep concern about dozens of people who are still in detention for a long time without charge or access to justice.

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