Sudan: Sudan : release of Mr. Waiel Taha
URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
SDN 002/0104/OBS 002.1
Release / Torture / Judicial proceeding
January 9th, 2003
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the FIDH and the OMCT, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Sudan.
The Observatory has been informed by the Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT) of the release, on 7th January, of Mr. Waiel Taha, a student and active member of the SOAT student network in Sudan. Mr. Taha had been arrested on January 5th, 2004, by members of the National Security Agency (NSA) and his whereabouts were unknown since then.
However, the Observatory has learnt that Mr. Taha was tortured while in detention. He was tied to a chair, blind folded with a shirt and beaten on his genitals and other parts of his body with a water hose. Mr. Taha reported that one of the officers threatened to rape him and told him: "Last time we shaved your head and we made you dance like a women this time I will rape you." The beating and threats continued for two hours.
The Chief Persecutor of the Crime Against the State charged Mr. Taha with instigating students, illegal occupation of a room used by a guard and the destruction of a Student Support Fund’s banner, under articles 144 (Intimidation) and 182 (Criminal Mischief) of the Penal Code of 1991. Mr. Taha was released on bail early in the morning of January 7, however, he was ordered to report back to the Crime Against the State Office on January 8, 2004. The Chief Prosecutor then ordered him to return on January 11, 2004.
These events are allegedly related to disturbances that took place on January 3 and 4, 2004, at Khartoum University between students and guards. During the disturbances, the guards beat up several students using metal wires and water hoses at the student's residence halls. A number of female students who were injured pressed charges against the university guards. Mr. Taha then began organizing a series of briefings and public talks sponsored by the Khartoum University Student Union concerning the violence.
In light of the torture allegations, the Observatory is seriously concerned for Mr. Taha’s physical and psychological integrity. Moreover, the Observatory considers that the charges against Mr. Taha are unfounded since they only aim at curtailing his freedom of expression and assembly.
On January 5, 2004, members of the National Security Agency (NSA) arrested Mr. Taha and Mr. Al Fat'h Al Rahman, another student, outside Khartoum University Student Union Building. According to the information received, they were apprehended by 9 individuals travelling in a Toyota pick-up truck. Mr. Fat'h Al Rahman was separated from Mr. Taha and was taken to the NSA building near Old Khartoum High School. He was allegedly tortured by 5 security officers who punched his face, beat the soles of his feet and his back, kicked him, forced him to drink 3 litres of water by inserting a bottle in his throat, tried to strangle him and threatened him with death. On 6 January 2004, Mr. Fat'h Al Rahman was handcuffed and blind folded, and pushed to a road near Mahmood Sharief Station in Buri.
Concerning Mr. Taha, a delegation from the Khartoum Student Union went to the NSA office to request information on his whereabouts but the NSA denied his arrest. However, Mr. Fat'h Al Rahman confirmed that they were arrested together.
Please write to the authorities of Sudan urging them to:
i. Guarantee Mr. Taha’s physical and psychological integrity;
ii. order an immediate investigation into the circumstances of these events, identify those responsible, bring them before a civil, competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;
iii. ensure that the charges against Mr. Taha be dropped, since they are unfounded and seem to be directed at curtailing his freedom of expression and assembly;
iv. conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Humans Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular 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 article 5.a which provides that “for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others […] to meet or assemble peacefully”;
v. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards.
· His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan, Telex: 22385 PEPLC SD or 22411 KAID SD, fax : + 24911 783223
· Mr Ali Osman Yasin, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, Khartoum, Sudan. Telex:22459 KHRJA SD or 22461 KHRJA SD (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs), fax : + 24911 788941
· Mr Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, fax : + 24911 779383
· His Excellency Ambassador Ibrahim Mirghani Ibrahim, Permanent Mission of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva, Case Postal 335, 1211 Geneva 19, fax : 0041 (0) 22 731 26 56, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Given the lack of working fax numbers for the government officials above, please send the appeals by standard mail and also write to the Embassy of Sudan in your country.
Paris - Geneva, January 9th, 2003
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax FIDH 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 01 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 4122 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29