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IDP reportedly tortured in North Darfur; denied police document necessary to obtain medical treatme

06-13-2017, 07:07 PM
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IDP reportedly tortured in North Darfur; denied police document necessary to obtain medical treatme

    07:07 PM June, 13 2017

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    (13 June 2017) The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) has serious concerns regarding the physical and psychological well-being of internally displaced person (IDP) Abdelmagid Abdalla Bakheet, (m), 27 years of age, who was reportedly subjected to torture by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Kutum, North Darfur whilst detained from the evening of 7 June to the morning hours of 10 June. Mr. Bakheet was arrested and detained by the NISS after he collected food and clothing in Kasab IDP camp to be distributed to recent IDPs to Khutum, displaced by fighting in Ein Siro and Gara, North Darfur.

    Mr. Bakheet was refused medical treatment in a state run hospital as he was unable to provide form 8, a state document needed to obtain post-trauma medical assistance to record physical injuries related to criminal acts. Police had refused to provide form 8 to relatives of Mr. Bakheet, presumably under the presumption that a medical report attached to form 8 could potentially be used for a future criminal case levelled against the NISS. Mr. Bakheet was subsequently taken to a private clinic and treated for his injuries. Mr. Bakheet’s inability to obtain form 8 severely compromises the prospects of him launching any form of criminal complaint in the future to seek justice amidst an environment in which there are already no effective remedies for torture survivors.

    Around 7pm on 7 June, Mr. Bakheet was arrested by the NISS outside Kasab IDP camp and detained in NISS headquarters in Kutum. Mr. Bakheet was accused of being a supporter of one of the armed rebel movements in Darfur, and beaten with fists and batons by officers. He was also burnt by hot water and cooking oil. He was released with severe injuries on the morning of 10 June and dropped by car near the perimeter of Kasab IDP camp. He was found by an IDP leader of Kasab IDP camp and taken to a local hospital run by the state government.

    Mr. Bakheet was told that to receive medical treatment, he would need to obtain form 8 from the police. A relative who went to obtain form 8 from the police was refused form 8, with no rationale given by the police. The hospital still refused to treat Mr. Bakheet, and his relatives subsequently took him to a private medical clinic in Kutum, where he received treatment for his injuries.

    The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies calls for the Government of Sudan to order an immediate investigation into the allegations of torture, as well as the refusal of the Kutum police to issue form 8 to Mr. Bakheet. Mr. Bakheet’s case is emblematic of the climate of violence and intimidation perpetrated by state authorities.

    We call on the Government of Sudan (GoS) to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the alleged torture of Mr. Bakheet, and the circumstances of his arrest. Mr. Bakheet was never charged with a criminal offence. Any investigation should be prompt and thorough, with its composition, the paremeters of the investigation, and the findings to be made public, and with a view to providing reparations to Mr. Bakheet.

    The GoS should reform domestic legislation regarding torture in line with its international and regional commitments, such as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. International bodies such as the African Commission, African Union and United Nations bodies should hold Sudan to account for its failure to implement its obligations to prohibit torture, grant effective remedies for victims, and hold perpetrators to account. During Sudan’s 2016 Universal Periodic Review, the GoS accepted recommendations made by states to ratify the UN Convention against Torture.

    Independent doctors’ unions in Sudan have called for the removal of the requirement of form 8 to receive medical care in the past, as it can block individuals’ from seeking medical care. Form 8 was previously required to be presented by rape survivors, though this provision has since been abolished. ACJPS considers the refusal to provide medical care to individuals who are unable or unwilling to obtain form 8 as a form of complicity by medical professionals and a gross contravention of the UN Principles of Medical Ethics. Physicians and other health professionals must hold themselves to the highest professional standards of commitment to the human rights and dignity of the people whose lives they have the privilege of serving, even under threat of harm.

    Background

    Sudanese authorities have been consistently implicated in the use of torture as a means of intimidation and to extract confessions. Despite the prohibition of torture in Sudan’s 2005 Interim National Constitution, other legislation, such as the 2010 National Security Act and 1994 Evidence Act, creates conditions rendering detainees extremely vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment. The 2007 Armed Forces Act, 2008 Police Act, and 2010 National Security Act each grant immunities to state actors.

    Even in cases where the immunities mentioned above have been lifted, victims of torture have faced various barriers that make it extremely hard to report cases of torture. ACJPS is not aware of a single case where an alleged perpetrator of torture has been held to account. The ACHPR found in case 379/09 against Sudan that remedies are not available to people tortured by the NISS because the power to lift immunities is at the discretion of the director of the NISS and is not subject to judicial oversight. ACJPS has also documented cases where individuals are believed to have been tortured to death or tortured before being killed. In April and May 2014 ACJPS documented the deaths of at least four detainees in Military Intelligence custody in South Darfur and Blue Nile states. The whereabouts of their bodies are unknown.

    Fighting broke out in Ein Siro and Garga areas in North Darfur on 28 May 2017 between the Rapid Support Forces and rebel forces in the region. Approximately 30,000 civilians were displaced to Kutum and the surrounding areas. No further information is available at this time.

    Contact: Mossaad Mohamed Ali/ Emily Cody: +256 779584542/ +256 788695068 (Kampala), or [email protected].
                  

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