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Families of detainees in Sudan arrested after complaining to parliament

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January 15, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Security officers at the Sudanese parliament took into custody family members of some of those detained in connection with protests that erupted last September just as they were leaving the legislative body.

The family members were accompanied by three female lawyers who were also arrested and interrogated for over an hour before some lawmakers intervened to get them released.

The group had earlier presented a memo to the subcommittee on Legislation, Justice and Human Rights complaining about the continued detention of 10 of their sons without charges.

Subcommittee member Awatif al-Ja’ali said that the group came to parliament with a prior permission from the chairman of the subcommittee adding that they were surprised by their arrest without legal basis.

She vowed to submit a written complaint to the speaker of parliament over the incident.

But parliament security justified the arrest by saying that the group was wearing clothes bearing slogans and photos demanding the release of detainees.

In a related issue, Sudan’s Justice Minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa warned against the slowdown in legal proceedings on the issues of those killed in the protests of last year adding that a committee in his ministry continues to follow up on the issue.

He said in press statements at the parliament on Wednesday that the ministry works each file separately and called for the immediate notification of any delay to his ministry.

The government says that 84 people were killed in demonstrations against lifting fuel subsidies but rights groups say the figures stand at more than 200.

Sudanese authorities said they arrested 700 in connection with the riots and denied using live ammunition against protesters. They accused outside elements of firing at the demonstrators, namely the rebel coalition known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

(ST)

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