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Urgent Interventions

Sudan: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Alarbab

SDN 002 / 1005 / OBS 09

Arbitrary detention / Ill-treatment / Judicial proceedings

October 20, 2005

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Sudan.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) about the arbitrary detention of Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Alarbab, a lawyer and a human rights defender.

According to the information received, on October 1, 2005, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Alarbab was arrested at the entrance of Mayo Police Station, Khartoum. Mr. Alarbab was working on cases of persons arrested following riots in the Soba Aradi area of Khartoum in May 2005 (See background information).

Mr. Alarbab was initially detained at the police station in Mayo and denied access to his family or lawyers. Whilst at Mayo police station, Mr. Alarbab was allegedly subjected to torture. He was reportedly beaten and subjected to severe pressure during the police interrogation.

On October 3, 2005, Mr. Alarbab was transferred into police custody at Kalakla police station where he was allowed visits from his family and his lawyer. On October 8, 2005, a representative of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was allowed to visit Mr. Alarbab. Following the UNMIS visit, Mr. Alarbab was again denied visits from his family and access to legal advice.

According to the police officers at Kalakla, Mr. Alarbab was refused visits because of media reports alleging that Mr. Alarbab had been subjected to ill treatment whilst in police custody.

On October 18, 2005, an official investigation was launched by police officers at Soba police station. Mr. Alarbab is reportedly under investigation for offences under Articles 21, 24 (Participating in Commitment of a Criminal Act), 130 (Murder), 50 (Crimes against the Constitutional System), 51 (Crimes against the State), 77 (Public Disturbance), and 107 (Sheltering a Criminal) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code.

Mr. Alarbab is currently detained at Kalakla police station with no official charges against him. His family was allowed to deliver food, for Mr. Alarbab to break the 'Fast' (Iftar).

The Observatory is very preoccupied by Mr. Alarlab’s detention and believes that he is being detained solely for his work in defending the residents of Soba Aradi. The Observatory is also very preoccupied by his health, since he was ill of malaria before his arrest.

Background information:

On May 18, 2005, 14 police officers and civilians including two children were killed when violence erupted in the Soba Aradi Area of Khartoum, populated by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the two-decade conflict in the South and more recently from Darfur, Western Sudan. The incident began when police officers entered the Soba area under the government scheme of relocating IDPs as part a larger area-replanning programme.

In the ensuing days, the government deployed its security apparatus including police, military and security personnel on the streets of Soba in what it claimed was a means of restoring peace. Hundreds of people were arrested and detained including families and children. Between June 27 and July 3, 2005, 59 persons among the hundreds of people arrested appeared before the courts on charges of rioting under article 68 of the 1991 penal code. The court found 31 of the defendants including 6 children guilty. The 25 adults were sentenced to imprisonment and the 6 children were sentenced to 20 lashes each. The court ordered the immediate release of the 28 persons acquitted (See OMCT Urgent Appeals SDN 170605 and SDN 170605.1)

There remains scores of persons in detention, many of whom are facing charges under article 130 (Murder) of the 1991 Penal Code. The detainees have been denied access to their families and lawyers. When questioned, the security authorities have repeatedly claimed that they are not willing to divulge the whereabouts of the detainees or allow access to their families and lawyers because “the investigations are not yet finished”.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities of Sudan urging them to:
i. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Alarbab;

ii. grant him access to appropriate medical treatment, as well a to the visits of his lawyer and relatives;

iii. order the immediate release of Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Alarbab in the absence of valid legal charges, and if such charges exist, ensure that he is given a prompt and fair trial, in which his procedural rights are guaranteed at all times;

iv. put an end to all forms of harassment against all human rights defenders in the country;

v. allow Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Alarbab immediate and unrestricted access to his family and to any medical treatment that he may require;

vi. 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 realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vii. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Sudan in accordance with international human rights standards, including the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.


  • His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan, Presidential Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 783 223

  • Mr Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 183 788 941

  • Mr. Lam Akol Ajawin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, fax : + 249 183 779 383

  • Mr. Al Zubeir Beshir Taha, Minister of Interior, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan , Fax: + 249 183 779383

  • Dr. Yasir Sid Ahmed, Advisory Council for Human Rights, PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 770 883

  • Dr. Abdelmuneim Osman Mohamed Taha, Rapporteur, Advisory Council for Human Rights, PO Box 302, Khartoum (Sudan), Fax No.: + 249 183 77 08 83

  • His Excellency Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, First Vice-President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 183 771025

  • Prof. Ali Mohamed Ali Shommou, The National Press and Publications Council, P O Box 11111, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 183 77 19 25

  • Mr. Zubeir Beshir Taha, Minister of Interior, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: + 249 183 779383

  • His Excellence Ambassador Mr. Mohamed Elhassan Ahmed Elhaj, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue Blanc 47, 1202 Geneva, PO Box 335, 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 731 26 56, Email:;

Please also write to diplomatic representations of the Republic of Sudan in your respective countries.

Geneva - Paris, October 20, 2005

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: E-mail:
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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