Sudan: Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of Human Rights Defenders

HE Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Office of the President
People’s Palace
PO Box 281
Khartoum, Sudan

Ali Ahmed Karti
Ministry of Foreign Affairs/External Relations
PO Box 873
Kharthoum, Sudan

Advisory Council for Human Rights, Rapporteur
PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan

Ibrahim Mahmoud Ahmed
Ministry of Interior
PO Box 873
Khartoum, Sudan

Mohammed Boushara Dossa
Ministry of Justice
PO Box 302
Al Nil Avenue
Khartoum, Sudan

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva
Avenue Blanc 51-53 (3rd Floor)
1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Musa Abdelrahim Mohamed Adam
Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Sudan
354 Stewart Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6K8

Embassy of Sudan in Brussels
Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 124
1050 Brussels, Belgium

Dear Sirs:

Re: Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of Human Rights Defenders

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of Canadian lawyers and law professors who campaign internationally for advocacy rights and advocates in danger and on rule of law issues.

I am a lawyer and a partner of a law firm in Canada. I am writing, as a member of LRWC, in response to information obtained from the Observatory indicating that between June 23rd and July 19th, Sudan authorities launched a campaign of arrests targeting human rights defenders.

On July 17th and 18th, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested the following individuals, released them and re-arrested them on July 19th in relation to the July 16th submissions to the Governor of South Darfur:
– Abdul Rahman Abu Al Hassan
– Ahmed Mohamed Abdallah
– Adil Abdalla Nasr El Dein

Between June 23rd and July 1st, NISS arrested the following defenders: the last three were released on bail on July 23rd:
– Mai Shatta
– Amro Hamad Omar
– Satti Mohamed Alhaj
– Fathi Albhiri
– Ahmed Alkwarti
– Namarig Abdelonim
– Sharaf Aldin

Charges against Namarig Abdelonim and Sharaf Aldin were dropped but Ahmed Alkwarti still remains charged under Articles 62 (inciting feelings of unrest among disciplined forces and abetment of disturbing order), 63 (calling for opposition to public authority by use of violence or criminal force), 65 (participation in criminal and terrorist organisations), 69 (disturbance of public peace) and 77 (public nuisance, alcohol and gambling public nuisance) of the Criminal Code of 1991.

LRWC express their deepest concern about this case and the prevalence of torture, ill-treatment and incommunicado detention which seem to merely aim at inhibiting human rights activities and the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression as protected by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We therefore call on the authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders listed above, and release them immediately and unconditionally as their detention is arbitrary.

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada urges the authorities of Sudan to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the 7 human rights defenders mentioned above that are detained, as well as of all human rights defenders in Sudan;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment, including at the judicial level, against the human rights defenders mentioned above, as well as of all human rights defenders in Sudan, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrances;

iii. Release the 7 human rights defenders currently detained and mentioned above immediately and unconditionally as their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and its 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”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Sudan.

We are hopeful you will investigate promptly the allegations outlined above and implement the relief requested. Your confirmation of receipt of this correspondence and actions to be taken would be appreciated.

Yours very truly,
Joe Hoffer
Sudan Monitor,
Lawyers Rights Watch Canada