Many still detained following Sudan protests
An estimated 20 people remain in detention following demonstrations in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, on 30 January and 2 February. They are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. From 14 February at least eleven people were released by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), which shows that pressure on the authorities to release those detained might be having an impact.
Louis Awil Weriak, Abdelazim Mohamed Ahmed, Ali Al Naeem, and Mohamed Ibrahim are among those still detained. Khaled Tawfiq, Samer Sala Al din, Muhannad Al Dardiri and Abdel Azim Al Badawi from Al-Midan newspaper also remain in detention. Many of the detainees report that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated while in NISS detention. None of them have so far had access to their families or lawyers, and no charges have been made against them.
Amnesty International has also received reports that six women who took part in the demonstrations or were accused of taking part, were sexually harassed or assaulted by the NISS. One of the women, Safia Ishag Mohammed, reported that she was raped and beaten while in NISS detention. Amnesty International strongly condemns the use of sexual harassment or assault to silence freedom of expression in Sudan.
Those released by the NISS include Mohamed Negm Eldin Hassan, Salah Mubarak Elfadil Elmahdi, Yousif Mubarak Elfadil Elmahdi, Ahmed Mahmoud Ahmed, Mohammed Banaga, Muzaar Al Zein, and Mohamed Abdel Hafiz, Rashad Nagmaldin, Mohamed Adil and Mohammed Nagmaldin. Staff members from Al-Midan newspaper, Kamal Karrar, Ibrahim Merghani, and Muaawiya Abu Hashem, were also released. Ali Mohammed Osman, a graduate and political activist, was arrested by the NISS on 14 February for his participation in the demonstrations, and was released on 15 February. He reports that he was tortured during his detention.
On 30 January, around 2,000 people gathered in Khartoum for a peaceful demonstration. More than 70 people were arrested, including a large number of people on their way to the demonstration. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and riot police reportedly began searching for demonstration organizers the night before. Armed riot police and the NISS reportedly used batons and tear gas to break up the demonstrations. Many of those arrested were injured. Reports suggest that a student demonstrator, Mohamed Abdelrahman, died in hospital on 31 January from injuries sustained as the police dispersed the demonstrators.
Protests throughout the Middle East and North Africa began in Tunisia several weeks ago and extended to a number of other capitals. Inspired by these protests, the demonstrators in Sudan were calling for democracy and asking for an improvement in their socio-economic conditions.
The police and the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Sudan often arrest and ill-treat peaceful demonstrators, particularly when they are asking for their rights to be upheld. Student movements and organizations are regularly targeted by the NISS. Journalists suffer from harassment and various restrictions to their freedom of expression. Newspapers also continue to suffer from intermittent censorship.
On 31 January, the NISS banned opposition newspaper Ajrass Al Hurriya , and stopped independent newspaper Al Sahafa, from distributing its daily edition. Al Midan, newspaper was also stopped from distributing its printed edition on 2 February.
There have been conflicting reports about the number of people who were detained following the demonstrations, and it has been difficult to verify exact numbers.