Title: Free Detained Human Rights Lawyers and Youth Activists
Date: 03-21-2014, 06:38 AM
Rampant arrests of activists and human rights lawyers since the protest of March 11, at the University of Khartoum
On Thursday, 13 of March, 2014; Abdelmoniem Adam Mohamed was arrested from his office in Souq Arabi in downtown Khartoum. Formally, and as known to the public, Abdelmoniem is a lawyer, but to many of the people who knew him, he is a true human rights icon.
Abdelmoniem grew up in White Nile state and studied law in Al-Imam Al-Mahdi university before coming to Khartoum with his family. His degree did not satisfy his desire for knowledge, he began a postgraduate diploma in human rights law at the University of Khartoum but had to drop out for personal reasons. Abdelmoniem barely had time to study because he was so engrossed in providing legal aid to those who couldn’t afford it or couldn’t access it.
Two days before his arrest, he spent his day going from one police station to another searching for students who could have gotten arrested during the protests that took place in the University of Khartoum. He is always one of the first lawyers to arrive at police stations to defend students and bail them out, often spending long hours at the police stations instead of doing commercial legal work to make ends meet.
Those who know Abdelmoniem know that his dedication to human rights makes him take on sensitive cases that many lawyers would not dare take. Many activists meet Abdelmoniem the first time in police stations bailing out youth activists or defending students in courts after protests. Before his arrest, he was representing an activist who was detained and tortured for months by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). This same security apparatus got its hands on Monim exactly for this reason, because he is not afraid to challenge them and take them to court for the violations they inflict upon Sudanese people, in general, and activists, in specific.
Before his arrest, Abdelmoniem wanted to reorganize his office, saying that many other lawyers don’t have offices, and he wanted them to use his office for work. His office was always a refuge for young lawyers like himself. Getting an office space was a luxury for many including Abdelmoniem who worked tirelessly for years to finally acquire a small office space last year.
According to article 48 of the Sudanese Bar Association Law of 1983 (amended in 2014), before a lawyer gets arrested, unless in the case of National Security cases or caught committing a crime, the arresting body needs to notify the lawyer’s syndicate, however, the new amendment states that you need a written agreement from the syndicate to be able to arrest a lawyer. On the other hand, the NISS as stated in the National Security Act (2010), is above the law and can arrest any individual under the pretext of “national security”.
Moreover, if the lawyer was arrested due to his work, as stated in the law, the head of the syndicate or a representative from the lawyers can attend the interrogation that should be based on the criminal procedures law of 1991, which provides the “accused” with many rights.
For years, NISS has arrested many lawyers for weeks at a time such as Abdel-Rahman Gasim, Ramzy Yehia, Satie Al-Haj, Kamal Omer, Tarig Al-Sheikh among others, none of them was taken to court and/or officially tried.
Targeted Arrests of Darfur Student Union Coalition Members and other activists
Since the March 11 events on the campus of Khartoum University there has been scores of arrests of Students and human rights lawyers, many were released since then, but the following are still in detention:
Hamdan Abdallah: a sophomore student at the Faculty of science, University of Khartoum. He was arrested on March 12 next to the Central Dorms. He was with student Ali Abbakar Musa when he was shot and killed on March 11.
Ashraf Mohamed Osman: detained March 12;
Ghazi El Rayeh Elsanhori: youth activist detained from his home in Khartoum on March 12;
Eisa Salih Ibrahim: detained March 13; and
El Zoubir Abdelmajeed: detained March 13.
During the funeral procession of student Ali Abbaker Musa (March 12), the human rights lawyer and member of the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) Abdel Aziz el Toum Ibrahim went missing, and the NISS only informed his family that he is with them on Monday. For five days his family and loved ones were left confused about whether he was arrested or not. It is believed that he is amongst at least 10 people arrested when riot police attacked the procession with tear gas to disband it. A source told GIRIFNA that the number of detainees is unknown because some students are in hiding as they fear long-term arrest.
On March 18, 2014, four activists were arrested in Souq Arabi. Three of them are from the Darfur Student Union Coalition. And one is a human rights lawyer and a member of the Darfur Bar Association (DBA). The arrest happened after a visit from the Darfur Student Union Coalition to the DBA offices, to discuss the ongoing conflict in Darfur and justice for the murdered of student Ali Abbaker from University of Khartoum. While four from the student coalition were arrested, one managed to escape; and one was release a day later after interrogations. Those arrested included the following:
1. Ibrahim Salih Ibrahim Adam (Guevara): and activist and graduate from Sudan University.
2. Al Radi Ali Ibrahim (Wad al Radi): human rights lawyer working with the DBA, South Darfur, Nyala;
3. Al Sadig (Afladoon): student activist, University of Khartoum; and
4. Ahmad Ali Ahmad (Boko): Nileen University, faculty of law. From South Darfur, Um Dafoq.
Ahmad Ali Ahmad, was released on March19– a day after his arrest. He gave a video testimony to GIRIFNA in which he asserted that NISS interrogated him specifically about the demands and the future plans of the Darfur Student Union Coalition. He also added that NISS was still targeting members of the Coalition and other student leaders who are cooperating with it. And that NISS asked about specific names, adding that they probably intend to arrest them in the next days. Some of those he mentioned were Mohamed Idris Jiddo and Mohammed Salah.
On Wednesday March 19, Mohamed Idris Jiddo an activist from Al-Fashir, North Darfur, was arrested. Jiddo was the head of the Darfuri Student Unions when he was a student at the University of Khartoum; and is a current member of the Coalition of Sudanese students. GIRIFNA previously documented his arrest in late 2011 and early 2012.
In the afternoon of March 20, Mohammed Salah, a young activist and a recent graduate of the University of Khartoum, was detained from Khartoum airport as he was about to leave the country to attend a workshop. Upon his arrest NISS was sending fake messages through his phone, to his mother assuring her that he has completed his paperwork and was boarding soon. However, his arrest was witnessed by his friends who contacted his family. Salah’s mother told GIRIFNA that she fears that he may be tortured because he spoke at the memorial of the killed student Ali Abbaker, earlier in the week. This is not Salah’s first arrest. He was arrested for two months without charges or trial during the summer protests of 2012 (Sudan Revolts), and gave a video testimony to GIRIFNA after his release.
Meanwhile female students at the Barracks dorm of the University of Khartoum, organized a peaceful stand on March 19. With their faces completely masked, they held banners that called for the release of their fellow students and of detained human rights lawyers. They also demanded that the war in Darfur stops (see photo gallery below).