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Women’s rights leader detained in Sudan capital

January 24 - 2022 KHARTOUM
The head of Sudan’s No to Oppression of Women initiative, Amira Osman (File photo: Supplied)
The head of Sudan’s No to Oppression of Women initiative, Amira Osman (File photo: Supplied)

The head of Sudan’s No to Oppression of Women initiative, Amira Osman, was detained during a raid by security forces in her home in Khartoum in the early hours of Sunday morning. Her detention has prompted condemnation from within Sudan, as well as from the United Nations mission in the country.

The initiative said in a statement on Sunday that a security force raided Osman’s home in the Riyadh neighbourhood just before midnight on Saturday, terrorised her family, and took her to an unknown destination.

Describing the raid on Social media, her sister, Amani Osman Hamid, says that at least 30 people, armed with Kalashnikovs and batons, took part in the raid.

“We woke up to the sounds of banging on the doors and rooms in the house,” she says. The first member of the force she encountered – a masked man, identified himself as ‘drugs control’. “My mother had a breakdown and the children were screaming an terrified.”

Hala El Karib, Regional Director of SIHA, the Women in the Horn of Africa Network, tweeted that there are serious concerns about Amira’s condition due to her current weak health.

The UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) expressed outrage: “Amira Osman’s arrest and pattern of violence against women’s rights activists severely risks reducing their political participation in Sudan, we call for her release. Authorities must respect right to freedom of assembly.”

The detention of the women rights activist seems to be part of the current nationwide crackdown on activists. Members of the General Intelligence Service (GIS) routinely raid homes of activists and members of resistance committees, active in the neighbourhoods of cities and towns in the country.

Junta leader Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan issued a decision in December restoring the powers of the security apparatus concerning detention and interrogation, granting the security agents immunity.

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