Title: 4 charged with crimes against the state for printing and distribution of Communist Party Statement
Author: african centre for justice
Date: 11-05-2014, 03:16 AM
(4 November 2014) Four people in Al Damazin, Blue Nile state, have been charged with a number of serious criminal offences in connection with the printing and distribution of a statement by the Blue Nile sector of the Sudanese Communist Party, marking the anniversary of Sudan’s 1964 “October Revolution”. The statement, which called for regime change as a solution to address the problems faced by Sudan, condemned the application of emergency laws and restrictions on fundamental human rights and freedoms in Blue Nile state, and was distributed to mark the anniversary of the 1964 popular uprisings that led to the downfall of Sudan’s first military government. Those charged include members of the Communist Party of Sudan as well as the owner of the printing and photocopying business alleged to have printed the statement. They have been charged with a number of criminal offences, including undermining the constitutional system, a crime that carries the death penalty under Sudan’s 1991 Penal Code.
The case raises serious concerns about increasing restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly in Sudan and the routine application of broad and vaguely worded offenses to censor perceived critics of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
Detentions after distribution of October Revolution Anniversary Statement
On 22 October 2014, Mr. Adil Keryazi, 60 years of age, was arrested by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Al Damazin town after distributing the statement signed by the Blue Nile sector of the Sudanese Communist Party. He was transferred from NISS custody to the Central Police Station in Al Damazin on 30 October where criminal case number 5522 was filed against him. He was charged under articles 21 (Joint Criminal acts in Execution of Criminal Conspiracy), 50 (Undermining the Constitutional System), 63 (Sedition – Calling for Opposition to Public Authority by use of Violence or Criminal force), 66 (Publication of False News) and 69 (Disturbance of Public Peace) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code. Article 50 carries the death penalty.
Four other people were later arrested and charged with the same criminal offences. The group included the owner and an employee of the printing and photocopying shop that is alleged to have printed the statement, someone alleged to have edited the statement prior to its distribution, and the Secretary of the Blue Nile sector of the Sudanese Communist Party.
The five individuals charged at the Central Police Station in Al Damazin under case number 5522 were:
Mr. Adil Keryazi, 60 years of age, member of the Sudanese Communist Party. Mr. Keryazi, who is a resident of Al Rosaris town, was arrested by the NISS on 22 October 2014 from the football stadium in Al Damazin. He was transferred to Al Damazin central police station on 30 October and charged with a range of criminal offences under case number 5522.
Mr. Adil Fadulalmula, 55 years of age, owner of a printing and photocopying shop in Al Damazin market where the statement was allegedly printed, was arrested by the NISS on 23 October 2014 from his shop. He was transferred to Al Damazin central police station on 30 October and charged with the same offences as Mr. Keryazi under case number 5522.
Ms. Fatima Al-Daw, 49 years of age, employee of Mr. Fadulalmula’s printing and photocopying shop, was arrested by the police on 30 October and taken to Al Damazin central police station where she was charged under case number 5522. She had previously been arrested 23 October together with Mr. Fadulalmula from his shop in Al Damazin market, but was released shortly after. She was released on bail on 4 November. Later the same day the prosecutor dropped the charges against her and she has become a witness in case number 5522.
Mr. Ibrahim Musa, 40 years of age, employee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Blue Nile. Mr. Musa was arrested by the NISS on 28 October from his home in Al Rosaris and transferred to Al Damazin central police station on 30 October, where he was charged under case number 5522. He has been accused of editing the statement before it went to print.
Mr. Suiam Ali Osman, Secretary of Blue Nile sector of the Sudanese Communist Party, was arrested by the police at 3pm on 2 November from Al Damazin market and taken to Al Damazin central police station, where he was charged under case number 5522.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the detainees applied for their release on bail. On 4 November, the Prosecutor of Al Damazin granted Ms. Al-Daw release on bail but refused to authorise bail for the other detainees. Later the same day all charges against Ms. Al-Daw were dropped and she became a witness in the case. The detainees have not reported any ill-treatment to their lawyers.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) calls for the Sudanese authorities to immediately release and drop the charges against the four remaining detainees who appear to have been charged for either peacefully expressing their political views, or printing the peaceful views of others. The charges appear politically motivated and aimed at threatening or punishing the peaceful expression of criticism of the government. ACJPS has documented other cases of harassment, including threats of prosecution, by Sudanese authorities against private printing companies, to stop the printing of materials deemed critical of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
Sudan should guarantee the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, as provided under the Interim National Constitution of 2005 and international law commitments made by Sudan.
Sudanese authorities have detained scores of other activists and members of political opposition parties in recent months. Members of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) appear to have been targeted in particular. Between June and August 2014, ACJPS documented the detention of twenty-nine members of the SCP, including two women, in Khartoum, West Kordofan, and North Kordofan states. Thirteen were arrested under Emergency Law in West Kordofan. The others faced various charges under the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code. Although the SCP detainees have since been released, eleven were released on bail and face criminal charges. Party members are thought to have been targeted because of the party’s vocal criticism of human rights violations committed by the Government-backed Rapid Support Forces in Sudan’s conflict zones, and the national dialogue process.
Contact: Mohamed Badawi (English and Arabic), ACJPS Human Rights Monitoring Programme Coordinator, in Kampala, Uganda on +256783693689, email: mailto:[email protected]@acjps.org