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Sudan
03.12.02
Urgent Interventions

Sudan: arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detention of six students and a teacher in Khartoum

Case SDN 031202
Arbitrary arrests / Incommunicado detention / Torture / Risk of torture


The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Sudan.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a Sudanese Organisation against Torture (SOAT), a member of the OMCT network, of a series of incidents involving the arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detention of six students and a teacher in Khartoum, Sudan.

According to the information received, in the early hours of November 29th, 2002, a group of armed security officers arrested three brothers, a teacher and two students, after raiding their house in Al Kalakla Algubba, Khartoum, allegedly in search of a fourth brother, Lenin Altayeb, a well-known student leader.

The three brothers are 27-year old Al Shafe’e Altayeb Yousif, a teacher at Al Sudan School in Al Kalakla Algubba, 20-year old Khidir Altayeb Yousif, a second year student of engineering at Sudan University, and 23-year old Hashim Altayeb Yousif, a fourth year maths student at the University of Khartoum. The three were arrested by the Security Forces and taken to an unknown place where they are still being detained incommunicado. OMCT fears that they may be being subjected to ill-treatment or torture during this time.

The Security Forces have told their family that the three men would be held until their elder brother Lenin Altayeb presented himself to security officers. Lenin Altayeb is a former student leader at Al Nilein University, and a well known member of the Sudanese Students Democratic Front (SSDF). Lenin has been arrested on three previous occasions, the first of which was in September 1996, when he was arrested with 19 other student leaders of the SSDF and severely tortured.

According to the information received, another incident that took place on November 13th, 2002, in which 21-year old Mohamed Awad Abdalla and 23-year old Hussam Aldin Yousif were arrested by security officers at a farm belonging to Mr Awad’s family in the Shambat area. Both of the men are agricultural students at Khartoum University’s Shambat campus.

The arresting officers were members of the branch of the security forces concerned specifically with students. The officers arrived in five cars to make the arrests. The men were first taken to offices belonging to the political section of the security forces near Maghabir Farough in Khartoum, and were later transferred to the Executive Security offices inside the building of the Army General Command Headquarters (Alghiyada Ala’amma). They were allegedly subjected to torture, being beaten with water hoses and whipped with ‘soots’ (leather whips).

Hussam was detained at the Army Headquarters until his release on November 26th, after he signed a pledge promising not to get involved in any future demonstrations against the regime. Mohamed was transferred to Kober prison, where he remains in detention without charge or trial.

Separately on November 13th, 2002, 23-year old Ahmed Hussain, an agriculture student at Khartoum University, was reportedly arrested from his hospital bed in Omdurman hospital, where he was receiving medical care after being injured during clashes between students and riot police (see OMCT Urgent Appeal SDN 191102). Ahmed was initially taken to offices of the political section of the Security Forces, but was then transferred to the Executive Security offices at the Army General Command Headquarters (Alghiyada Ala’amma). He was subsequently moved to Kober prison from where he was released on November 25th.

It is also reported that another student was arrested on November 22nd, 2002. 25-year old Atif Alsouni, a student at Khartoum University’s Faculty of Arts, was arrested at 7 pm from the Alrank student association building in Abu Sie’ed, Omdurman. The whereabouts of Atif Alsouni are currently unknown, giving rise to fears that he may be at high risk of being subjected to ill-treatment and/or torture.

According to information received, the arresting security officer was named as Ali Kour. SOAT claims to have received information that Ali Kour works with the student branch of the security forces and that he is in charge of the section dealing specifically with students from southern Sudan. Also allegedly involved in the arrest was a security officer named Abdelrahman, and a civilian called Mujahid, who works with the Student Support Fund (‘Sandouk Da’am Altoulab’).

These arrests take place in the context of continued friction between the authorities and students. The Government made a number of arrests after clashes between student demonstrators and police between the 22nd and 24th of October 2002, when sticks and rubber bullets were used by riot police against Khartoum University students. More than 20 arrests were made during and following the demonstrations which were being held to mark the 38th anniversary of protests against the military government of General Abboud in October 1964. The University of Khartoum remains closed after the authorities ordered all faculties to be shut down on November 14th, 2002.

The International Secretariat of the OMCT is deeply concerned by these reports of arbitrary arrests in Sudan and the apparent targeting of students, and strongly condemns the use of incommunicado detention and torture. OMCT is particularly concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Mohamed Awad Abdalla, Atif Alsouni, Al Shafe’e Altayeb Yousif, Khidir Altayeb Yousif and Hashim Altayeb Yousif, who are all being held in unknown locations, and calls upon the Government of Sudan to guarantee their personal integrity, locate their whereabouts and order their release in the absence of valid legal charges.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Sudan urging them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mohamed Awad Abdalla, Atif Alsouni, Al Shafe’e Altayeb Yousif, Khidir Altayeb Yousif and Hashim Altayeb Yousif;
ii. immediately locate their whereabouts and provide them with appropriate medical assistance;
iii. order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;
iv. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these arrests in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
v. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international human rights standards.

Addresses

· His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan, President's Palace
· PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan. Fax: + 24911 783223
· Mr. Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, Khartoum, Sudan. Fax: +24911 788941
· Mr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan. Fax: +24911 779383
· Mr. Yasir Sid Ahmed, Advisory Council for Human Rights, PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan. Fax: + 24911 779173
· His Excellency Ambassador Mr Ibrahim Mirghani Ibrahim, Permanent Mission of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva, PO Box 335, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax : +4122 7312656. E-mail: mission.sudan@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the embassies of Sudan in your respective country.
Geneva, December 3rd, 2002
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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