Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 11 April 2018

Don’t be taken in by Sudan prisoner release

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

by Jehanne Henry

Today, Sudan president Omar al-Bashir ordered the release of “political detainees”, welcome news for 60 or so men who have languished behind bars for weeks. But it is also a grim reminder of a defining feature of Sudan’s political landscape: the periodic mass arrest and detention of opposition leaders to silence them whenever they threaten to speak out.

These latest detentions – in a long history of similar detentions – were part of a crackdown that started in January to stifle opposition-led protests over new budget and austerity measures. Police and national security agents arrested hundreds of people, during protests or from homes, offices, or off the streets, and held them without charge or access to lawyer or family visits.

While authorities released some in following weeks, they kept many dozens locked up for weeks, mostly in Khartoum. Many of the detainees, like economist Sidqi Kabalo, are elderly, life-long leaders in Sudan’s Communist Party; others belong to other opposition parties and movements or, like lawyer Salih Mahmoud, are known rights activists. Mahmoud has received the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov prize, and an award from Human Rights Watch, for his work on Darfur.

Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur, might hope this move will appease international onlookers. The UN Human Rights Council’s Independent Expert on Sudan is due to visit the country later this week. A well-timed prisoner release could help burnish his image.

Sudan has done some clever politicking on the international stage recently. Along with promises to cooperate on counterterrorism and downshift its civil wars, it succeeded in convincing the US to lift economic sanctions last year. In addition, through cooperation with the EU, it received hundreds of millions of Euros for projects to stem migration – support which frankly further empowers the notoriously abusive Rapid Support Forces, who committed grave crimes in Darfur and elsewhere.

Beyond insisting on the release of everyone arbitrarily detained, onlookers should insist on the radical reform of Sudan’s national security body, the National Intelligence and Security Service. With broad powers of arrest and detention up to four-and-a-half-months, NISS’s ill-treatment and torture of detainees is well documented. We have repeatedly documented harsh conditions of extreme heat or cold, beatings, electrocution, verbal, and other abuses.

Whatever his motivations, al-Bashir does not deserve congratulations. The release of political detainees is not a gift or a political concession, but a basic obligation of respect for fundamental principles of human rights and rule of law.

Jehanne Henry is a team leader in Human Rights Watch’s Africa division.



The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.



Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


South Sudan’s universities should explore other revenues 2019-03-17 20:33:06 By Ukongo Benson Athia Of recent, it transpired that the five public universities dons have advanced their cause to increase the tuition fees for the students. I have seen such complaints of (...)

Pressure from the people in Sudan 2019-03-17 10:55:35 The longer genuine political and economic reform is delayed in Sudan, the greater the risk of wider instability and deepening economic crisis. By Rosalind Marsden President Omar al-Bashir, who (...)

Sudan’s al-Bashir burnt the boats before crossing 2019-03-11 06:19:03 By Mahmoud a. Suleiman Second Military Coup D’état of Omer Bashir will Not Protect him from his inevitable fate at the hands of the uprising Sudanese people The angry uprising men, women and (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Sudan Protests: Investigate the custodial death of three University students 2019-03-13 12:53:14 The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) Sudan Protests: Urgent call for investigations into the custodial death of three University students and alleged torture of detainees by (...)

The Alliance for Restoration of Sudanese Workers Trade Unions Joins the Declaration of Freedom and Change 2019-03-10 21:16:50 PRESS RELEASE For immediate release 10 th March 2019 The Alliance for Restoration of Sudanese Workers Trade Unions announced on Sunday 10th March that it was joining the revolutionary forces (...)

Ethnic Murle politicians say enough to cattle raiding 2018-12-28 09:32:00 December 27, 2018 (JUBA) - Murle political leaders in Buma state have vowed to end the practice of cattle raiding and child abduction by individuals in the community. Jodi Jonglei, who is also (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.