December 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Eight members of a Khartoum residents’ group in the Sudanese capital’s Bahri district have been detained without charge since security agents raided one of their meetings on 30 October, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) said in a statement.
According to the London-based advocacy group, officers of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), armed with Kalashnikov rifles and wearing brown uniforms, raided the meeting of Shambat Residents’ Association, which was being hosted at a private home in Bahri. Eight members of the association were reportedly forced into Land cruisers before being taken to the NISS offices in Khartoum’s Hilat Hamad area. None of the detainees have had access to their families or lawyers since being taken into custody.
ACJPS said the reasons for the arrests remain unknown and it has concerns the detainees may be at risk of ill-treatment.
It has called on Sudanese authorities to immediately grant the detainees access to their families and lawyers, as well as any medical assistance they may require.
“The authorities must guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the detainees and order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards or, if such charges exist, to bring them before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal, and guarantee their procedural rights at all times”, the statement said.
ACJPS has also expressed concerns that Sudanese authorities continue to carry out arrests and arbitrary detentions despite the rights to freedoms of assembly, association and expression being enshrined in the 2005 interim national constitution and Sudan’s commitments under international law.
More than 800 people were detained by the police and the NISS after anti-government protests erupted across Sudan in late September over the decision to cut fuel subsidies.
Many detainees were released within a few hours or days, but human rights groups estimate that dozens remain in NISS detention without charge because of their presumed political opinions.
Sudanese authorities have come under heavy criticism for its use of excessive force to quell demonstrations, with 170 protesters killed and hundreds more injured, according to official figures. However, rights groups put the true number much higher.
Most of those killed and injured were shot in the head and upper body with live ammunition. ACJPS and other human rights groups have called on the African Union (AU) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) to send an urgent commission of inquiry into the circumstances leading to the deaths of protestors and other human rights violations that were perpetrated in connection with the protests.
ACJPS has named the detainees from the Khartoum residents’ group as:
Twenty-four-year-old doctor Omer Hassan Badawi, 25-year-old taxi driver Yasir Daoud, computer engineer Arafat, 24-year-old electrical engineer Ahmed Ismail, 22-year-old student Abdulgfar, 26-year-old taxi driver Shams Eldin Al-Haj, 40-year-old computer engineer Tarig El Sheikh and 24-year-old Khartoum University graduate Muhajeer.