Amnesty International Reports Sudanese Protesters Tortured After 200 Arrests in Protest Outside Parliament in Khartoum
Human Rights Organization Demands Names and Whereabouts of Those Arrested
(New York) -- Amnesty International today strongly condemned a violent crackdown by Sudanese security forces on protestors gathered outside parliament in Khartoum and said it received reports that those arrested had been tortured while detained. More than 200 people, including opposition leaders and human rights activists, were arrested at the demonstration, which was held to protest delays in passing laws that are seen as vital to a forthcoming referendum and elections.
Amnesty International demanded that Sudanese authorities announce the names and whereabouts of those arrested and either charge them with recognized criminal offenses or release them immediately. "This is yet another example of the culture of violence that the Sudanese government has adopted," said Tawanda Hondora, deputy director of the Africa program at Amnesty International. "The government must respect the right of protesters to peacefully assemble and express their views. This is a crucial time for Sudan and all parties should abstain from using violence, especially in the light of the coming elections and referendum."
The demonstrators gathered in front of the parliament building in the early morning despite a last minute ban being imposed by the authorities.
The protest was aimed against the delays in passing laws that are seen as vital to a forthcoming referendum and elections. Next year's vote will be the first presidential, parliamentary and local elections in 24 years.
A referendum is also scheduled on whether the south should secede in 2011. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended 22 years of war during which 1,5 million people have been killed.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
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