Home | Press Releases    Wednesday 16 August 2006

Visit Kriznar - and go to Darfur

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Aegis trust

Aegis urges public to inundate Sudanese embassies with requests for visas to visit Slovenian envoy and human rights activist jailed in Darfur yesterday

August 15, 2006 — A Sudanese court has sentenced Slovenian envoy Tomo Kriznar to two years’ imprisonment for spying and entering the country illegally. Now the Aegis Trust is calling for all those concerned at Kriznar’s plight, and at the continued lack of international protection for Darfur’s Africans, to apply to the Sudanese embassies in their countries for visas, stating purpose of visit as ?to visit Tomo Kriznar in prison and go to Darfur.’

On Monday 14 August, the Al-Fashir Criminal Court of North Darfur convicted Kriznar under Article 53 of the Criminal Law for 1991 (espionage) and Article 66 of the same law (publishing false news) and Article 10 of the Passports, Migration and Nationality Act for 1994 (entering Sudan without an entry visa). The court sentenced him to two years imprisonment, a fine of 500,000 dinars (US$3,000) and confiscation of photography equipment and films. The court also ruled that he should be expelled from Sudan after serving his prison term.

Visit Kriznar

“This disproportionate sentence on Tomo Kriznar is the Sudanese Government’s way to tell human rights activists and journalists to keep out of Darfur,” says Dr James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust. “They think that if the crimes committed there are out of sight, they will also be out of mind. They know that if they deter people from bringing evidence to the international community of the terrible atrocities being committed, then world leaders will be less inclined to protect the people of Darfur.

“Why don’t all of us who care about Tomo and Darfur around the world apply for visas to visit Tomo in prison and to go to Darfur to see what the Sudanese are hiding. That way Khartoum will know that as long as they keep Tomo in prison, it will increase interest in Darfur rather than deter people.”

(UK readers can download a Sudanese Visa Application Form by visiting: http://www.sudan-embassy.co.uk/visa.php

Under ’Purpose of Visit’, you can enter ’To visit Tomo Kriznar in prison and go to Darfur’.

Aegis advises that those unable to afford the time or money to travel to Sudan send their visa applications without the usual fee (£55 in the UK) - since the mere act of sending the application represents a protest in itself.)

Context of Kriznar’s arrest

Tomo Kriznar is an award-winning writer, film-maker and peace activist, who initially travelled to Darfur in February as the Slovene president’s envoy. He has been held since July 20. He claims he was handed over to Sudanese security forces by African Union peace monitors who had negotiated his alleged safe passage from an area cut off by factional fighting among the rebels. He believes that he was accused of spying because he had uncovered details about a cover-up of mass graves in Darfur.

Kriznar conceded that he entered Sudan without a valid visa through the Chadian border with the help of Darfur rebels. However, he denied all charges of espionage and claims that he was not given a fair trial. He has been informed that he has one week in which to appeal. The office of the Slovenian Presidency called for him to be pardoned, saying the sentence was "absolutely too harsh" for what was merely a consular offence.

May’s Darfur Peace Agreement was only signed by one of three main rebels factions and Kriznar had been attempting to convince the other factions to participate in peace talks. Several rebel leaders travelled to Ljubljiana as part of a peace initiative by President Drnovsek.

In the meantime the situation on the ground in Darfur has “gone from bad to catastrophic”, according to UN humaitarian chief Jan Egeland, who points out that more aid workers were killed in July than in the previous three years fighting in Darfur.

Global Day for Darfur - 17 September

Sunday 17 September will mark a global day of action in which members of the public around the world join the call for international protection of Darfur’s Africans - a year to the day since 150 governments committed themselves at the UN World Summit to the ?responsibility to protect’ people at risk of mass murder. See www.dayfordarfur.org for details of what is happening in your country.

- For more information, contact Aegis Media Officer David Brown, mobile: +44 (0)7812 640873, email: david.brown@aegistrust.org

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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