Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sudan escalates mass arrests of activists amid protest crackdown

"Reports that Sudan’s security forces have arrested at least 800 activists, members of opposition parties, journalists, and others amid ongoing anti-government protests mark a shocking escalation of the crackdown on dissent, Amnesty International said.

A wave of arrests took place between the night of Monday 30 September and the early hours of Tuesday 1 October. Amnesty International is still receiving reports of arrests at the time of writing.

“Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service is notorious for its repressive tactics in rounding up and placing perceived dissidents behind bars – but even by their standards, this latest round-up marks a significant escalation in arrests,” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International. 

“We fear that the hundreds of arrested or missing are at grave risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment. Those detained are being held incommunicado, with no access to lawyers or their families.”
The Sudanese Minister of Interior stated in a press release that they have arrested 700 “criminals” in Khartoum and elsewhere since mass protests began on 23 September. But reports from journalists, members of opposition parties, activists, and family members indicate that the figures are much higher.

Some of those who have been detained have been taken from their homes and others from their places of work. Most have reportedly been arrested without a warrant.

Under Sudan’s 2010 National Security Act, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) is allowed to detain suspects for up to four and a half months without any form of judicial review.

“All indicators are that people are being targeted for arrest for no other reason than they are members of opposition groups, or activists, lawfully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. If the authorities have evidence to the contrary, they must charge them with a recognizable criminal offence or else release them immediately. In the meantime, they must be granted immediate access to their families, legal representation and any medical treatment they may require,” said Lucy Freeman.

“The draconian 2010 National Security Act must be scrapped, as it gives the NISS extraordinary powers to detain without charge, in blatant violation of international law.”

No comments: