Re: Arbitrary detention by the National Intelligence Security Service of Sudan (NISS) of the three lawyers Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Hajar
To: Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President
From: Joseph Hoffer
I am Mr. Joseph Hoffer, a Canadian lawyer and the Sudan monitor of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada. I am writing to express my concern, and that of our Organization, for the above mentioned persons who are currently being detained in “Communicado”.
These lawyers were targeted for no other reason than posting information on the coming Bar Association elections, to be held in January 2010. The last elections at the Sudan Bar Association took place in January 2006 and saw the victory of the National Congress Party, amid allegations of rigging. The results of the election were challenged before the courts following allegations of corruption and fraud. The recent harassment and detention of the above individuals by the NISS is legitimately viewed by Lawyers’ Rights Watch as a deliberate attempt to interfere with the judicial process and with the exercise of basic rights to democratic elections at the Sudan Bar Association.
We fundamentally disagree with the wanton disrespect of the independence of the Judiciary and generally, the continuous deterioration of the rule of law in Sudan. We believe that it is the legal duty and obligation of the Government to guarantee the respect for these two cardinal principles of democracy.
We are therefore, deeply troubled by the gross violations of human rights and the inherent freedoms of the above mentioned person and other human rights defenders currently in Sudan.
In order to conform to the local and international legal standards, therefore, we do implore you to immediately take the following actions:
1)Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Hajar;
2)Release them immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;
3)Ensure in the meantime that they be granted access to a lawyer of their choice and to their relatives;
4)Put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Butheina Omar Al Sadiq, Ms. Randa Yousif and Ms. Nafisa Al-Nur Hajar and more generally against all human rights defenders in Sudan;
5)Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” and its Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
6)Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Sudan; and
7)More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Sudan.