Urgent Interventions

Sudan: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and of Mr. Yasir Saleem


New Information
SDN 001 / 0104 / OBS 001.2

Arbitrary arrest and detention /
Judicial proceedings
May 13, 2005

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

New Information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) and the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) of the arrest of Mr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Chairperson of the Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO), a locally registered NGO created to promote sustainable development and human rights.

According to the information received, on May 8, 2005, officers of the National Security and Intelligence Agency in Sudan (NSA) arrested Mr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, along with his colleagues Mr. Yasir Saleem, a photographer at SUDO’s Documentation Unit, and Mr. Abdullah Taha, Mr. Mudawi’s personal driver, in Khartoum North (Khartoum Bahri), at about 11:00 am. The men were arrested whilst travelling from Mr. Mudawi’s private company offices in Khartoum North to SUDO offices in Khartoum South.

Initially the detainees were taken to an unknown place. They were later moved to a Security Detention Centre in Khartoum North known as ‘Altanfeezi’ (Executive). On May 10, 2005, the detainees were transferred into the Crimes Against the State Attorney Custody, in Khartoum, and placed under investigation. Mr. Mudawi and Mr. Yasir were charged under article 53 (espionage against the country), a crime which carries the death penalty under the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code, and article 57 (entering and photographing military areas and works).

On May 11, 2005, Mr. Taha was released without any official charges held against him. On May 12, 2005, the Attorney General removed computers from Mr. Mudawi’s private company as part of his investigation.

On May 9, 2005, Mr. Mudawi was expected to travel to Ireland to receive the inaugural annual Award of Front Line - the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, from the President of Ireland, Mrs. McAleese, on May 13, 2005.

This is not the first time the security forces in Sudan infringes upon the rights and personal freedom of Mr. Mudawi because of his activities for a peaceful end to the armed conflict in Darfur (see background information below). On previous occasions he was acquitted for the lack of evidence on the charges brought against him by the security forces.

SUDO has been involved in promoting discussion and reconciliation between groups involved in conflicts in Sudan, and a reconciliation meeting between ethnic groups involved in the North-South conflict was reportedly cancelled since Mr. Mudawi’s arrest. SUDO has also been active in providing assistance to internally displaced persons.

The Observatory is deeply concerned by this new arbitrary arrest of Mr. Mudawi and his colleagues, and expresses its fears that their lives could be in serious danger as Sudan’s security forces are notorious for their routine practice of physical and psychological torture against political detainees. The Observatory is also deeply concerned by the seriousness of the charges brought against them.

The Observatory welcomes the Resolution adopted by the European Parliament on May 12, 2005 (Resolution P6_TA-PROV(2005)0178), in which it “condemns the re-arrest of Dr. Adam […], as well as the arrest of his colleague Mr Saleem and driver Mr Taha; calls on the Sudanese authorities to release all three without delay; insists that the Sudanese authorities make it clear where they are holding Dr Adam and allow him access to family and lawyers”.

Background information:

Mr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam had previously been arrested on December 28, 2003 by the National Security Agency (NSA) at his house, in Omdurman, which was searched and some documents were seized. Mr. Mudawi was then taken to his office in Khartoum, which was also searched, and his computer and other items were confiscated. Mr. Mudawi remained in detention at an unknown location until information was given on January 3, 2004, on his transfer to Kober Prison. On February 11, 2004, he was charged with crimes under the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code for undermining the constitutional system (article 50) and waging war against the State (article 51), which carried the death sentence. All charges against him were dropped on August 4, 2004 and he was released on August 7 (See Annual Report 2004 of the Observatory).

On January 24, 2005, Mr. Mudawi was arrested in North Kordofan, along with his friend, Mr. Salah Mohammed Abdalrahman, a political activist and a member of the Sudanese Democratic Movement who was then visiting him. They were initially detained at the security forces headquarters in Umm Ruwaba city, where Mr. Mudawi was reportedly interrogated. Later on the day, they were both transferred to the security forces offices in Al-Obied (See Observatory urgent appeal SDN 001/0104/OBS 001.1). On February 19, 2005, Mr. Mudawi went on hunger strike demanding to be charged or released; he was then charged with attempting to commit suicide and taken to the Alfaisal clinic, a private hospital in central Khartoum. He was released on March 12, 2005. He was given a letter from the Human Rights Advisory Council dated March 7, 2005, citing his release date as March 3, 2005. The whereabouts of Mr. Salah Mohammed Abdalrahman were unknown until March 17, 2005 when his sister was allowed to visit him.

Action requested:
Please write to the authorities of Sudan urging them to:
i. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and Yasir Saleem, as well as that of all members of SUDO and human rights defenders in the country as a whole, and put an end to all acts of harassment against them;

ii. release Messrs. Mudawi and Saleem immediately, and ensure that they be brought before a competent and impartial tribunal without delay, so that the charges against them be dropped as they are arbitrary;

iii. immediately return all properties removed from Mr. Mudawi’s private company;

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”; 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”;

v. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Sudan in accordance with international human rights standards.

  • 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 Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan, fax : + 249 183 779 383

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

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

  • 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:

  • Dr. Abdelmuneim Osman Mohamed Taha, Rapporteur, Advisory Council for Human Rights, PO Box 302, Khartoum (Sudan), Fax No.: 00 249 183 77 08 83

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

    Paris - Geneva, May 13, 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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