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Startseite Urgent Actions 2010 11 Activists held incommunicado
UA 231/10
Sudan
Abgeschlossen am 3. November 2010

Activists held incommunicado

AI-Index: AFR 54/036/2010

Between 30 October and 1 November, eight Darfuris, including a number of human rights activists, have been arrested in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Although the authorities have not yet acknowledged the arrests, there are reports from Sudan that all eight of them are being held incommunicado by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), without access to a lawyer or their families. They are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Abdelrahman Mohammed Al Gasim, legal aid and protection coordinator for the Darfur Bar Association, and member of the Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND); Dirar Adam Dirar, finance and administration officer at HAND, and Abdelrahman Adam Abdelrahman, deputy director of HAND were reportedly arrested by the NISS on the evening of 30 October in Khartoum.

Three female activists, Manal Mohammed Adam, Aziza Ali Idriss, and Aisha Sardo Sherif were also reportedly arrested by the NISS on 30 October.

Another two men, Abu Gasim Al Din and Zakaria Yacoub were reportedly also arrested. There are reports that more people have been arrested, but there is no confirmation as to all their names, identity or present whereabouts. The arrests have targeted Darfuris working for HAND, which is a coalition of grassroots Darfuri organizations that publishes human rights monitoring reports on Darfur, and people working for Radio Dabanga, a Sudanese radio station registered in the Netherlands that broadcasts news on the conflict in Darfur. Both reportedly share the same building in Khartoum.

None of the families of those arrested have had any news of their whereabouts or reasons for the arrests. There are reports that Abdelrahman Adam Abdelrahman may have been subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment.

Additional Information

Torture or other forms of ill-treatment of human rights activists and journalists by the National Intelligence and Security Services is often reported in Sudan, particularly amongst Darfuris and when those detained are not given access to the outside world. Amnesty International documented many cases of torture and ill-treatment in detention against human rights activists and journalists, and amongst Darfuris, namely at the hands of the NISS.
The 2010 National Security Act (2010 NSA), passed in December 2009, provides extensive powers of arrest and detention to members of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Under the same Act, NISS agents are also provided with immunity from prosecution for any act committed in the course of their work. The 2010 NSA maintained powers and immunities provided under the previous law, the 1999 National Security Forces Act. As a result of these laws, a culture of impunity has pervaded in Sudan and NISS members have been carrying out human rights violations with impunity.
Although Sudan’s Criminal Procedure Code contains safeguards against incommunicado detention, Article 50 of the 2010 NSA stipulates that the NISS can arrest and detain any person for a total period of four and a half months without judicial oversight. The 2010 Act does not specify the grounds on which such detentions can be made. Such incommunicado detention without access to the outside world and without any outside inspection increases the likelihood of torture taking place.

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