Re: Mr. Mohamed Al Mahgoub
To: President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
From: Joseph Hoffer, LRWC
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 person who is currently being detained in “Communicado”.
On April 11, 2009, the National Intelligence State Security (NISS) arrested Mr. Mohamed Al Mahgoub at his house in Al Fashir. None of his lawyers nor his family have been able to visit him. According to the information received, his arrest was ordered by the NISS headquarters in Khartoum. Mr. Al Mahgoub has not been charged yet with any offence.
Prior to the arrest, on March 5, 2009, Mr. Al Mahgoub had been ordered by the NISS not to leave Al Fashir, on the basis of the National Security Forces Act 1999.
Mr. Al Mahgoub’s arrest follows the closure at the beginning of March by Sudanese authorities of the Amel Centre – Alfashir and Nyala branch and the Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO), two organisations operating in Darfur, and the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development (KCHRED). The three organisations were working to provide support to victims of human rights violations, in particular victims of torture and victims of the ongoing conflict in Darfur. The crackdown against human rights and humanitarian NGOs and human rights defenders has intensified in Sudan since the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant against President Omar Bashir on March 4, 2009.
Human Rights Watch Canada is deeply concerned that Mr. Mohamed Al Mahgoub may be subjected to ill-treatment and acts of torture.
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 in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Mohamed Al Mahgoub;
2) Release him immediately and unconditionally, since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities;
3) Guarantee immediate and unconditional access to a legal representation of his choice, his relatives and any medical treatment he may require;
4) Put an end to any act of harassment against him as well as against all Sudanese human rights defenders, in conformity with the provisions of the 1998 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Sudan;
5) Comply 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”, Article 5 (“everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, […] to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups”) and Article 12.2, which provides 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) Comply with Article 39 of the Sudanese Interim National Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and of the media, as well as with Articles 40.1 and 40.2 on freedom of assembly and association; 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.
These appeals to you are made through Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada. We are hopeful that you will take these appeals seriously. We would be obliged if you would acknowledge receipt of this correspondence and provide a concrete commitment in response to this appeal.