Mohamed Ahmed Abd Al-Gadir Al-Arbab

Re: Mohamed Ahmed Abd Al-Gadir Al-Arbab

To: Adbdul Haleem Mutafi

From: Michael M. Macaulay

Date: 2005-11-13

I am writing to you on behalf of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”). LRWC is a committee of Canadian lawyers who provide support internationally for advocates whose rights, safety, or independence are being threatened as a result of their human rights work.

LRWC deeply troubled to hear of the arrest and mistreatment of Sudanese lawyer Mohamed Ahmed Abd Al-Gadir Al-Arbab. We wish to respectfully remind your Government of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Person Under Any From of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the General Assembly in 1988, and encourage your government to abide by all of its principles with regard to Mr. Arbab. In particular, we wish to draw your attention to the following principles:

  • Principle 6, prohibiting torture or other forms of cruel and unusual treatment;
  • Principle 8, requiring unconvicted prisoners to be treated as such; and
  • Principle 15, prohibiting prisoners from being denied communication with the outside world for more than a matter of days.

Mr. Arbab is one of the lawyers representing 136 people detained and charged in connection with clashes between police and internally displaced people housed in the Soba Aradi camp on May 18, 2005. It is believed that Mr. Arbab is being detained solely as a result of his work representing these detainees and LRWC considers him to be a prisoner of conscience.

LRWC would like to remind your government again of its obligations under the UN’s Basic Principels on the Role of Lawyers which was adopted by the General Assembly in September 1990. In particular LRWC would like to draw your attention to principles 16 – 18 regarding guarantees for the functioning of lawyers. The most relevant of these principles are as follows:

  • Principle 16, states that lawyers should be able to perform their profession obligations without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;
  • Principle 18, states that lawyers should not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of their work; and
  • Principle 20, guarantees lawyers civil and penal immunity for statements made in good faith in oral or written submissions.

LRWC requests that these principles be adhered to not only with regards to Mr. Arbab, but that all human rights defenders and lawyers in your country be granted the freedom to effectively carry out their work.

LRWC respectfully requests that all international covenants and treaties be followed with regard to Mr. Arbab and that he be released immediately. In the event he is not released, LRWC requests that Mr. Arbab receive a fair trial, conducted openly, by and independent and impartial judiciary, in accordance with all international standards. We also respectfully request Mr. Arbab receive proper treatment while in prison and request guarantees from your government that he will be subjected to torture or mistreatment while imprisoned, and he be given immediate access to friends, family and legal council.

Please advise LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax of all steps being taken by your government to rectify the situations of these men. Also, please advise LRWC of any and all steps being taken to ensure that all international standards and covenants are being respected.

Thank you for your time and attention to our concerns. LRWC awaits your response.