Sudanese Security Arrests Leaders of the Doctors’ Strike and Intimidates their Supporters
Contact: Osman Hummaida, Executive Director at
E-mail: [email protected]
(3 June 2010) At 3 PM on 1 June, National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested Dr. Walaa Alden Ibrahim and Dr. Alhadi Bakhiet, leaders of the recently established Sudanese Doctors’ Strike Committee. The two doctors were immediately arrested outside the Doctors’ Guest House in Khartoum following the announcement of a nationwide strike to begin on 2 June. In the past year, doctors have amplified their criticism of the government, whom they claim owes them millions in back wages, and have demanded that they be compensated their pay retroactively, receive raises and improvement in their working and housing conditions. In March, President Bashir issued a directive to the Ministry of Health to fire any doctor who went on strike, after failed negotiations. However, this order was later retracted.
Dr. Ibrahim and Dr. Bakhiet were briefly released later that day, but were rearrested by the NISS after they made public statements to the media detailing the conditions of their torture and arrest at NISS head offices in Khartoum. On the evening of 1 June, the NISS also arrested the head of the Sudanese Doctors’ Strike Committee, Dr. Alabwabi, from his home in Khartoum.
The following day, 2 June, a demonstration was organised by students of the School of Medicine of Khartoum University in solidarity with the detained doctors and to kickoff the strike. The police arrived and beat and arrested members of the group, dispersing the crowd. Others en route to a meeting at Khartoum Teaching Hospital were prevented from entering. Below are the names of doctors injured by the police:
· Dr. Ashraf Hamid
· Dr. Tmadur Omar
· Dr. Osama Ahmed Ibrahim
· Dr. Razaz Ahmed Albahawi
· Dr. Walid Alfadil
· Dr. Inass Alsadig
· Dr. Mutaz Ahmed
· Dr. Hussam Aldeen Mahmoud
· Dr. Nuha Yousef
· Dr. Halaa Ali
· Dr. Miada Abdalla
· Dr. Osama Ahmed
Six students were arrested and taken to Khartoum North police station, five of whom are listed below. The group was charged under Article 77 of the Sudanese Criminal Code 1991, banning “public noisiness” before they were released on bail at 8 PM.
· Faiz Abdula Mohamed
· Hussain Slah Aldeen
· Shaza fisal
· Omar Mohamed Musa
· Faris Mohamed
That same day, President Bashir issued a decree to raise salaries by 2,000 Sudanese pounds, and reimburse back wages under separate categories. However, the doctors have expressed skepticism that these funds will actually be disbursed, and will continue their strike until their colleagues are released.
The right to fair wages, equal renumeration, and just work conditions are protected by the International Covenant for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, as are the rights to strike and form trade unions for the promotion and protection of economic and social interest. Detention, arbitrary arrest, and torture violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Convention against Torture.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies condemns the crackdown of Sudanese security on the Sudanese Doctors’ Strike Committee, and the arrest and torture of its leaders when they were protesting their work conditions and lack of pay. The charges filed against the protests’ organisers of “public noisiness” under Article 77 of the Criminal Act of 1991 undermine the freedom of expression, guaranteed under Article 39(1) of the Sudan Interim National Constitution. The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies is concerned over the treatment of the detained doctors, and calls on the Government of Sudan to release them or charge them with an internationally recognised criminal offence, and to negotiate with the Sudanese Doctors’ Strike Committee to achieve just and equitable salaries and working conditions.