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News and Press ReleasesSpokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani Sudan detentions

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Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani Sudan detentions

12-12-2014, 11:16 PM
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Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani Sudan detentions

    12 December 2014
    Geneva

    We are deeply concerned about a pattern of detentions – and prosecutions – in Sudan in recent months that appear aimed at silencing political opposition and criticism of the policies of the ruling party.

    The most recent high-profile case involved the arrest and detention of two prominent public figures in Khartoum. Dr. Amin Makki Medani, a prominent human rights defender and former UN Human Rights Office Regional Representative for the Arab Region, and Dr. Farouk Abu Issa, the leader of the opposition National Consensus Forum, were reportedly taken from their homes just before midnight on 6 December by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services. The two men had just returned from Addis Ababa where they signed the “Sudan Call”, a political document that commits signatories “to dismantle the one-party state regime and replace it with a state founded on equal citizenship through daily popular struggle”. A third man, Dr. Farah Ibrahim Mohamed Alagar, who was also at the Addis meeting but did not sign the declaration, is believed to have been arrested on 7 December 2014.

    We have received information indicating that there are serious concerns about the health and safety of Dr Medani, 76, and Dr. Eissa, 78. Both men require essential daily medication as they are diabetic and Dr. Medani has high blood pressure while Dr. Eissa suffers from cyanosis. We understand they have been detained in unknown locations and denied visits from their families and lawyers.

    The Government is required by its international human rights obligations to inform individuals arrested of the grounds for their arrest through an arrest warrant, to guarantee their safety, disclose their whereabouts, grant access to their family members and lawyers, and to provide any medical assistance they may require.

    We urge the Government to release the three men in the absence of valid legal charges or promptly charge them with a recognizable offence and bring them before a judge with guarantees of their fair trial rights.

    The past six months have seen scores of political and youth activists, as well as prominent human rights defenders, detained. There is also a worrying trend emerging towards the prosecution of owners and employees of private printing firms, apparently aimed at restricting the printing and distribution of independent material deemed critical of the ruling party.

    We urge the Government to cease the harassment and prosecution of political activists, human rights defenders and other public commentators such as journalists and bloggers for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion.
                  

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