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Darfur: Two Zaghawa Tribe Members, Severely Tortured, now Face Death Penalty

4/11/2005 8:12am


Sudan Organisation Against Torture

Human Rights Alert: 11 April 2005

Darfur: Two Zaghawa Tribe Members

Severely Tortured, now Face Death Penalty

On 22 February 2005 at 11.30am, Sudanese armed forces arrested two men from the Zaghawa tribe in Shourom village, Nyala province, Southern Darfur state on suspicion of joining the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

The details of the men are as follows:

1. Mahmoud Abaker Osman, (38 yrs) merchant, Zaghawa

2. Diggo Abdel Jabbar, Omda (community leader), (45 yrs), merchant, Zaghawa

Mahmoud Abaker Osman and Diggo Abdel Jabbar are currently detained in Nyala prison, and face charges that carry the death penalty. The two men were reportedly tortured repeatedly and severely whilst in the custody of the armed forces and military intelligence, and have serious injuries as a result. Both men have been denied access to medical treatment and there are serious concerns for their health.

Following their arrest on 22 February 2005, the two men were reportedly taken by government armed forces to a military camp in Sanya Afondu village (approximately 70 Km south east of Nyala) where they were detained in a hole in the ground for 11 days. During this time, eight soldiers, under the control of a senior ranking military official, beat the men with sticks all over their bodies, beat them with metal sticks on the head and legs, flogged them on the back and chest and burnt their feet and hands with fire.

On 4 March 2005, the two men were transferred into the custody of the Military Intelligence in Nyala, where they were detained incommunicado, and denied food for five days.

On 13 March 2005, Mahmoud Abaker Osman and Diggo Abdel Jabbar were taken to Nyala Wasat (central) police station and charged under Article 51 (Waging War against the State) and Article 58 (Abetment to Mutiny) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code, which carry the death penalty.

On 19 March 2005, after six days in police custody, the two men were transferred to Nyala prison where they remain in detention and are denied access to medical treatment. Mahmoud Abaker Osman and Diggo Abdel Jabbar are now awaiting trial before the Specialised Criminal Courts in Darfur, which hold summary trials that fall far short of international standards and accept confessions extracted under torture.


Over the past two years, a pattern of widespread and systematic recourse to torture perpetrated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Military Intelligence operating in Darfur has emerged. Torture is widely used in Darfur, often to extract confessions of membership or affiliation to the armed opposition groups operating in the region.

Members of the sedentary communities in Darfur, such as the Zaghawa, Fur and Maselit, are particularly targeted as they are perceived to support the armed opposition movements. Detainees in Darfur are often not informed of the reason for arrest and are detained incommunicado without charge or trial for extended periods of time. They can be brought before Specialised Criminal Courts in Darfur which hand down cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, including the death penalty.

Specialised Criminal Courts which operate in Darfur fall far short of international standards for fair trial. Confessions extracted under torture are accepted as evidence and there are curbs on the right to appeal. The right to defence is limited, with lawyers often reliant on the good will of the judge to enable them to attend the court and represent their client.

SOAT expresses serious concern for the health and well-being of Mahmoud Abaker Osman and Diggo Abdel Jabbar who have sustained severe injuries through torture and calls on the Sudanese authorities to:

Grant the two men immediate access to medical treatment and legal advice
Immediately investigate the alleged incidents of torture and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice
Take all necessary measures to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of the detainees
Ensure that Mahmoud Abaker Osman and Diggo Abdel Jabbar are brought promptly brought before a court that operates in compliance with international standards of fair trial.

The above recommendations should be sent in appeals to the following

His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir
President of the Republic of Sudan
President' s Palace
PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: + 249 183 783223

Mr. Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Ministry of Justice
Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: + 249 183 788941

Mr. Mustafa Osman Ismail
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: + 249 183 779383

Dr. Abdelmuneim Osman Mohamed Taha
Advisory Council for Human Rights
PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: + 249 183 770883

His Excellency Ambassador Mr. Ibrahim Mirghani Ibrahim,
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva,
PO Box 335,
1211 Geneva,
Fax: +4122 731 26 56,
E-mail: [email protected]

SOAT is international human rights organisation established in the UK in 1993. If you have any questions about this or any other SOAT information, please contact us:

Argo House
Kilburn Park Road
London NW6 5LF, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7625 8055
Fax: +44 (0)20 7372 2656
E-mail: [email protected]


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