Mr. Sati’ Mohamed Al-Hajj, human rights lawyer and others

Re: Mr. Sati’ Mohamed Al-Hajj, human rights lawyer, Mr. Yusuf Hussein, Mr. Tariq Ahmed Gasim, aged 21, and Mr. Fawaz Salah Al-Sayed, aged 21 and others

To: Mr. Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, First Vice-President; Mr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister of Foreign Affairs

From: C. A. Morris, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.

Date: 2005-04-23

We are writing to you concerning the above named men, who were arrested on April 21, 2005 in Khartoum. We understand these people are being detained incommunicado by the security forces. As of April 22, 2005, Mr. Sati’ Mohamed Al-Hajj and Mr. Yusuf Hussein are reportedly being held at an unknown location. Mr. Tariq Ahmed Gasim and Mr. Fawaz Salah Al-Sayed are reportedly being detained at the offices of the National Security Forces in Khartoum North.

We are concerned that the above-named people are at risk of torture and ill-treatment. We understand they were arrested because of their plans to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of their relatives by means of summary execution. The information we have suggests that these individuals planned only to exercise their right to peaceful association and expression. We also writing concerning allegations of torture and ill-treatment of four boys, age 15 to 18, arrested on the same day for similar reasons.

We understand that Mr. Tariq Ahmed Gasim and Mr. Fawaz Salah Al-Sayed and four boys were taken after arrest to a security forces office in Khartoum North. The four boys were released later the same evening and stated that members of the security forces had beaten them and forced them to jump up and down on a hot floor. On April 22, 2005, the security forces arrested and released other organizers of the event. One of these people was reportedly beaten and given 40 lashes before he was released.

On April 22, the families of Tariq Ahmed Gasim and Fawaz Salah Al-Sayed demanded their release by demonstrating outside the offices of the National Security Forces in Khartoum North. We understand that Security forces took Tariq Ahmed Gasim and Fawaz Salah Al-Sayed to the reception area to show them to their families, but then the two men were taken back into detention. The families of Tariq Ahmed Gasim and Fawaz Salah Al-Sayed stated that they looked as though they had been beaten.

We have no information that any charges have been laid against Tariq Ahmed Gasim, Fawaz Salah Al-Sayed, Sati’ Mohamed Al-Hajj or Yusuf Hussein. LRWC is concern for the safety. We are requesting that you ensure that these people are released immediately, since they appear to have been arrested for preparing a peaceful commemoration. We are also seeking your assurances that you will ensure that none of these, or any, detainees will be tortured or ill-treated. We also ask that you ensure that all these detainees be given immediate access to their families, legal counsel and any medical attention they may need.

We are very concerned about allegations of beating and ill-treatment of Tariq Ahmed Gasim and Fawaz Salah Al-Sayed and the four boys (above-mentioned), aged between 15 and 18. We are requesting that you call for a complete, impartial investigation into these allegations, and we ask for your assurances that anyone responsible for torture or ill-treatment will be to be brought to justice.

With respect, we remind you of Sudan¡¯s obligations to comply with the provisions of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which Sudan has ratified. These Conventions require your government to allow adults and children to exercise freedom of expression (ICCPR Article 19, and CRC Article 13) and freedom of association and peaceful assembly (ICCPR Article 21 and 22 and CRC Article 15). Arbitrary detention is forbidden under ICCPR Article 9 and CRC Article 37). We remind you that the ICCPR (Article 7) and the CRC (Article 37) forbid torture; ICCPR Article 7 is not derogable under any circumstances. The law against torture of any individual is a fundamental principle of customary international law, binding at all times on all states.

We urgently request that you write to us by email or fax to assure us of the safety of the above-named individuals, and to advise us what steps you are taking to investigate the above allegations of torture and ill treatment of these individuals including children.

Lawyers¡¯ Rights Watch Canada continues to monitor the situation of Sudan on a daily basis. We join with many other organizations and individuals in continuing to urge your government to ensure respect for the human rights and dignity of all men, women and children in every part of Sudan.